Cinderella' a memorable finale for 20th season

April 26, 2001|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The new three-act production of "Cinderella," choreographed by artistic director Edward Stewart to the music of Sergei Prokofiev and performed by the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, seems destined to become a local classic.

The ballet, performed at Maryland Hall last weekend, will be repeated this weekend at Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park.

Capping its 20th season with this production, the troupe features principal ballerina Zhirui Zou dancing the role of Cinderella. She was magical, executing every move flawlessly with consummate lightness and grace. Immediately after Saturday's performance, Zou was off to Helsinki, Finland, to participate in an international dance competition.

FOR THE RECORD - In yesterday's Anne Arundel edition, a review of Ballet Theatre of Maryland's "Cinderella" listed an incorrect time for one of this weekend's performances at Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park. The curtain times are 7 p.m. tomorrow and 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Sun regrets the error.

On Sunday, Ninel Cherevko danced the Cinderella role, and will dance Cinderella for both performances at Chesapeake Center, where all other roles will be performed by the original dancers.

BTM's principal dancer, Sergei Vladimirov, was formidable in the role of the Prince. In addition to superb partnering skills that included smooth and spectacular lifts, Vladimirov exhibited seemingly flawless technique. The great height he achieved was astonishing; his dancing is an intriguing blend of tender romanticism and dynamic vigor. He is an exciting addition to the company, who I hope will remain with BTM for many seasons.

There were many high moments in Stewart's "Cinderella." The four seasons were lyrically danced by Aimee Litwiller as the Spring Fairy, Kimberly Lynn Dyer as Summer Fairy, Amber Lynn Zecker as Autumn and, on opening night, Ninel Cherevko as the Winter Fairy. The palace ball scene was exciting, with sharp contrasts between the spirited Jester, danced superbly with remarkable athleticism by Nickolai Balatsenko, and the lovely ensemble of Ladies in Waiting and the Guests.

The Cavaliers added electricity and excitement, danced with vigor and high energy by the talented trio of Dmitri Malikov, Robert Michalski and Jeffrey Watson.

Leslie Bradley revealed a touching sensitivity in dancing the Begging Hag and incomparable grace as the Fairy Godmother. Bradley has added a unique beauty and distinction to BTM's 20th anniversary season and in my view would be a welcome addition to future productions.

The contributions of Juliet Shore in her inspired costume design must be acknowledged. Shore has an unerring color sense that paints a beautiful pastel backdrop of peach, pale green, lilac and aqua contrasting with the four seasons: tender green for spring, red for summer, plum for fall and winter dressed in white.

Shore's talents were displayed even more impressively in the daytime and ball costumes she designed for Cinderella's Stepsisters, two dancers who required all the skill Shore lavished on them.

Cultural Arts Foundation Director Carol Treiber, elegant in her bronze and black costume, made an impressive debut, displaying a regal stage presence as she gracefully glided across the floor, communicating a delicious sense of fun in her every move, along with maternal pride and affection for her high-spirited daughters.

One of them, played by Edward Stewart, can best be described as saucy, and the daughter played by Anton Wilson, sinuous in his undulating hip movements. Both men displayed a zesty vigor, high energy and a keen sense of fun. It requires great talent for skilled dancers to transform themselves into such total klutzes.

Cinderella will be performed at Chesapeake Center at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $24 for CCCA members, $26 for nonmembers and $12 for children and students. To order tickets, call 410-636-6597.

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