Courtesy of BalletMet Columbus
Many students grew up watching animated Disney classics, and around the winter holidays some families attend classical ballets like “The Nutcracker.”
BalletMet Columbus’ artistic director Gerard Charles combined both pastimes to create a ballet people of all ages could enjoy, “Cinderella.”
“It’s very funny, but also a beautiful classical ballet,” said Jennifer Sciantarelli, the communications manager at BalletMet. “It’s a familiar fairy tale told through, for many people, a new medium.”
Charles took pieces from the traditional fairy tale of “Cinderella” and pieces from the non-traditional “Cinderella” ballets.
“I did a lot of research on different versions of Cinderella,” Charles said. “But I pretty much stayed close to the traditional fairy tale part of it.”
In his version, Charles removed Cinderella’s father to make the character a stronger girl. He also cast a male to dance the role of the stepmother, which makes her appear more menacing.
Emily Gotschall is one of the company dancers performing the role of Cinderella. Gotschall received her training from BalletMet Columbus as a student and is now in her sixth season as a company member.
“Cinderella is a really fun girl to play,” Gotschall said. “She’s very hopeful and bright, and no matter how bad her circumstances are she’s always positive.”
She also plays two other roles in the ballet, as do many of the other dancers.
Gotschall grew up watching other dancers in the company dance the role of Cinderella, and she, like many young girls, dreamed of being Cinderella.
Charles recognized Cinderella’s allure to young girls and did not want that lost in the ballet. However, he wanted to keep it a classical ballet that adults could appreciate.
“There are classical ballet steps in it, and all the elements that you would expect to see in a classical ballet,” he said.
Similar to BalletMet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” Charles wanted to make “Cinderella” work for the children in the audience, and preserve the piece as an adult ballet.
“I think it is a piece that’s meant to work on a couple of different levels,” he said. “It’s not just a children’s ballet.”
There are roles created for children in the BalletMet Dance Academy because Charles sees it as a valuable part of their dance education.
“I knew that the students in the academy enjoyed being in ‘The Nutcracker,'” he said. “I wanted to give them another opportunity to be on the stage and to do some roles in a piece.”
BalletMet offers many ballets each season. This is the third time this version of “Cinderella” has been on the schedule.
“It’s not a dark and hot, deeply meaningful piece like some of the pieces can be,” he said. “It compliments our season to present a variety of different kinds of dance.”
The ballet is schedule to show Feb. 4–13 at the Capitol Theatre. Students with their Buck ID can purchase tickets for $15 at the door.
“A great date night, perfect for Valentine’s Day,” Sciantarelli said.