Wheeldon’s New “Cinderella”

You can almost see Wheeldon's creative wheels turning... (Photo by Johan Persson.)

Oh, the power of stories. Much as I love abstract dance, few things move me the way a good story ballet does. And it seems like I’m in the majority: Story ballets are the bread-and-butter of nearly every ballet company’s repertory. If you want to see a packed house for a ballet performance, go see Swan Lake. (Insert snarky Black Swan joke here.)

So I’m guessing that choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is about to have another huge hit on his hands: It was just announced that the big-ticket choreographer will make a new version of Cinderella for Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. The work will premiere in Amsterdam in December, then make its way to San Fran in 2013.

Why is this especially exciting? Because Wheeldon is a fantastic pure dance choreographer—he knows how to bring an audience to its knees with steps alone. So when he has the additional asset of a narrative (and one that comes with a gorgeous Prokofiev score, at that!), he’s doubly good. And, you know, his crazy imagination doesn’t hurt anything.

Need proof? Check out this clip from Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which he made for The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada last year. It features the Queen of Hearts doing a laugh-out-loud funny riff on the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty. And if Wheeldon can have this much fun with an evil queen, just think about the hilarity that will ensue once he gets his hands on Cinderella’s ridiculous stepsisters.

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