Boulder Ballet Cinderella

April 2, 1999

Kristen Demaree is a zaftig stepsister in Boulder Ballet’s production of Cinderella, choreographed by John Prinz. Photo courtesy Boulder Ballet.

Boulder Ballet Cinderella

Macky Auditorium,
University of Colorado, Boulder

April 2-4, 1999

Reviewed by Janine Gastineau

Boulder, CO- Dancer John Prinz, who followed a fine performing career (New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre) with positions around the world as ballet master, teacher, and coach, has returned here after many years to choreography. His Cinderella premiered in April, danced by Boulder Ballet, a midsized, preprofessional company located thirty miles northwest of Colorado’s capital city, Denver. Prinzes’ ballet brings BB its most challenging choreography to date and gives it a chance to really shine.

Ably assisted by Julie Cronshaw, Prinz tells the story simply, drawing sensitive, detailed performances from the entire company. As Cinderella, Robin Canup Mihran has never danced better, her character’s eternal hope and delicacy shining through difficult circumstances. Seth DelGrasso (Aspen Ballet Company), guest-appearing as the Prince, partners with generosity and assurance, and presents a well-rounded character. The lovers’s two grand pas de deux were lovely in design and were executed with confidence.

Marian Rothschild was chilling and cruel as the Stepmother, alongside former Royal Ballet dancer-mime Franklin White’s as the poignant, maddeningly ineffectual father; they lead this dysfunctional family over whom Cinderella triumphs. As the two Stepsisters, Kristen Demaree and Ana Claire were a study in contrasts. Demaree, a Dolly Partonesque babe, is whiningly fetching. Claire, a lanky gal in curlpapers, whose Act II antics recall Carol Burnett sketch comedy, dances campily with every man within reach.

Anna Blackburn-Wittman as the Fairy Godmother is the serene guiding spirit throughout, and she inhabits some of the prettiest moments in the ballet: her return at the ballet’s end when she twirls slowly in a pool of light as Cinderella and the Prince exit into the forest.

In creating variations for the fairies, Prinz coaxed these dancers into new ground technically and expressively; all four-Elvira Stewart (Spring), Julia Karpinski Abbott (Summer), Kristin St. John (Autumn), and Sarah Rogers (Winter)-danced with aplomb. Special kudos to Stewart, who lit up the stage each time she flitted across. Eric Donovan as the Prince’s Friend danced a brief variation that showcased his elegant long legs and strong batterie.

An enthused response from the large local audiences has inspired BB to continue its relationship with Prinz; it has invited him to return with a new ballet in the spring of 2000.