Artistic Director: Peter Mallek
Choreographer: Sheila Styles
Music: G A Rossini
Reviewer: Gina Skillings
The Vienna Festival Ballet is a classical ballet company founded in 1980 by Austrian dancer Peter Mallek. Based in the United Kingdom, they typically spend 7 to 8 months of the year touring small and medium venues around the country, and occasionally abroad.
In 1995 Mallek commissioned renowned musical director and conductor Chris Nicholls to arrange and rewrite the ballet’s orchestral score. He has included music from some of Rossini’s most famous operas, including La Cenerentola, the Italian Girl in Algiers and Silken Ladder. The music played during the performance was pre-recorded especially for the company by the Slovakian Kosice Orchestra, and conducted by Nicholls.
Choreographed by Sheila Styles, this version of the famous Cinderella story is loosely based on the Rossini opera version, La Cenerentola. The production is colourful and full of good humour, the costumes vibrant and backdrops well thought out to help the flow of the story.Principle dancers Michaela Griffin as Cinderella, Joshua Barwick as the Prince, and Emily-Joy Smith as the Fairy Godmother, ply their trade very well and are a delight to watch, in particular the duets between Barwick and Griffin towards the end of the performance.
The ensemble pieces are not as well executed, with areas meant to be in unison not quite making the mark and looking messy, un-coordinated and amateurish. Dispensation can be given slightly due to the small stage at Worthing, and it’s conceivable that this could make it difficult to move with normal ease – several dancers disappearing into the wings during some pieces show they are used to having more room to manoeuvre.
Adelina the cat and the two stepsisters (Perdita-Jayne Lancaster, Jodie McKnight and Sandra Serey Sampedro) take this show from what one might call a Classical Ballet performance, to a more ‘layman’ level, however, while the classically danced pieces from these three are more than adequate, the garish costumes and almost slapstick comedy in parts does bring the performance, as a whole, to bordering on the pantomime.
As a professional classical Ballet, there are much better out there, but looking around at an audience of which a third are young children, quietly enthralled in what they are seeing, you can’t help but think that maybe the mix of the classical with the pantomime is just right in this instance.
Runs until 16th May 2014