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PNB embellishes classic ‘Cinderella' tale

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Maria Chapman and Seth Orza with company dancers in Kent Stowell's "Cinderella.''

    Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Maria Chapman and Seth Orza with company dancers in Kent Stowell's "Cinderella.''

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By Jackson Holtz
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Maria Chapman and Seth Orza with company dancers in Kent Stowell's "Cinderella.''

    Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Maria Chapman and Seth Orza with company dancers in Kent Stowell's "Cinderella.''

Evil stepsisters, a fairy godmother, a prince's ball, a golden coach and the most famous slipper of all.
The soft shoe fits only one fair maiden: Cinderella.
Pacific Northwest Ballet's production, which opens tonight and runs through Feb. 13, is a part of the legacy left by former artistic director Kent Stowell.
Conceived and choreographed in 1994, Stowell turned away from the mid-20th century productions that placed more emphasis of the comic-tragic components of the story and instead went with the romantic. For example, Stowell casts women in the roles of the stepsisters, dismissing the tradition of en travestie casting, a fancy term for when characters are played by someone of the opposite sex.
The production focuses on the dynamics between the real world and the dream world, ultimately bringing them together when the prince and Cinderella are reunited in the dramatic conclusion.
Stowell also tinkered with Sergei Prokofiev's score. While the Cinderella ballet still is the central theme, other pieces are used to flesh out scenes. Stowell used other Prokofiev pieces that better evoke the scene's emotions.
Perhaps the biggest shift is that Stowell moved the ball scene from the end of Act One to the opening of Act Two.
Tony Award winning costume and set designers Martin Pakledinaz and Tony Straiges evoke an 18th-century world. The enormous 23-foot, white-and-gold carriage that delivers Cinderella to the ball took six months to build.
This production includes 62 school children who perform various roles including bugs, pumpkins and sprites.
Lesley Rauch plays Cinderella and Jeffrey Stanton her prince.
"Cinderella"
7:30 p.m. tonight, Feb. 5, 10, 11, 12; 2 p.m. Feb. 5 and 12; 1 p.m. Feb. 6 and 13; and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Tickets start at $27; www.pnb.org or 206-441-2424.
Story tags » Dance

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