Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

CINDERELLA with Malandain Ballet, Biarritz


Cendrillon (Cinderella) was a great success at Theatre du Chaillot, Paris after guesting in Spain and followed by other performances in France. It can also be seen on DVD. Contact the Malandain Ballet in BIarritz to buy the DVD.

PARIS/FRANCE: One of France’s greatest companies, headed by the sincere and generous choreographer, Thierry Malandain, and his outstanding Malandain Ballet Biarritz continues its updating of the classical repertoire with Cinderella at Theatre du Chaillot, Paris. 

Review by Henning Høholt, Photos Olivier Houeix.

CendrillonMiyuki Kanei, in front, with the two stepsisters Frederik Deberdt and Jacob Hernandez Martin, and her stepmother Baptiste Fisson. Foto: Olivier Houeix

Choreographer, and balletchief Thierry Malandain has successfully developed a language striving for harmony between the modern and the classical, history and today’s world. The repertoire of the troupe, consisting of many outstanding dance personalityes, whose performers have a beautiful classical background, mingles genuine creations with highly personal revisiting of a certain dance heritage.

Mr. Malandain has the rare choreographic ability and talent, – that I have not found by many choreographers. – Through his dramaturgic teft, he manages to form a history, that we do believe in, and by his great young soloists and corps des ballet to give them possibilityes to form the demanding roles that are importent in such a history and fairytale ballet as Cinderella, that many among the audience knows well as a fairytale, but then to get it to be alive, and understandable on stage. The Cinderella history, originally after the fairy tale by Charles Perrault.

From Cendrillon, Arnaud Mahouy and Miyuki Kanei(?). Foto Olivier Houeix

We remember, for example, renditions of Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Bolero or Magifique. The latter was hugely popular at Chaillot and internationally. For this new offering, Thierry Malandain sets his sights on one of dance’s most famous heroines: Cinderella. With Serge Prokoviev´s great music in tow.

The choreographer brings together 20 dancers on stage and sticks to the dramatic arc of the fairytale, highlighting the quest for an ideal world, the truth revealed, the duality that lies within each and everyone of us. And within Cinderella, of course. The show makes do with a barebones setting, that is, with no scene shifts, no frills, but with an obvious delight, propelled by the humanness of the tale, the luscious music, as well as the laughter of the comical scenes that counterbalance the dream-like or unfortunate episodes.

The leading roles are performed by a list of great soloists from the heart of the company, some leading, that we have enjoyed erlier in other roles and at other occassions, and some new, following well in the Malandin tradition, that we do enjoy with great pleasure, of course the titelrole, Cinderella (Cendrillon) beautifully, tender and virtuose peformed by Miyuki Kanel and her Prince, the young Daniel Vizcayo, height sufficient to match Kanel, but lacking a bit of the royal autirity to be a young Prince, he can still be even more safe in such a demanding role.

Miyuki Kanei  is beautyful as Cinderella. Foto Olivier Houeix

Another highlight in this production was the outstanding virtuose soloist Arnaud Mahouy, as the organizer and helper of the Prince, his brilliant long jumps from the one corner of the stage to the other, light as if was a feather, perfect to see.

A Highlight in the production. The deliciouse Fairy, the beautiful Claire Longchamp . And of course the “hopeless” stepsisters, Javotte and Anastasie (Tremaien), brilliantly  and funny performed by two male dancers Fredrik Deberdt and Jacob Hernandez Marin In the way as it has been a tradition through decades at least since Frederick Ashton did first time in the wellknovn Cinderella production Sadler´s Wells Ballet, Royal Opera House, London in 1948 and in 1965 with Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann as the Stepsisters); London. Please see historical information below.

Cendrillon, Miyuki Kanei (Cinderella) and Daniel Vizcayo (the Prince) behind corps des ballet in the second act ball scene. foto Olivier Houeix


Here in the  Malandain production the two stepsisters are brilliantly performed and danced by Fredrik Deberdt and Jacob Hernandez Marin, together with their mother (Lady Tremaien the name was in Disneys version) virtuosely on crutches, danced by Baptiste Fisson, that gave her and the stepsisters extraordinary moving possibilityes, Very amusing. Their father was well formed by Raphaël Cenet, in fact a bit too young for the father role, but later in his pas de deux with The Fairy, beautiful danced by Claire Longchampt,  in this he did a good job. Furthermore we noticed with pleasure Fabio Lopez, as the second helper, together with Arnaud Mahouy, of the Prince in second act.

“Anyway, we did our best to clear the clouds and bring to life a dancing star”, summarizes Thierry Malandain. This Cinderella cuts an appealing figure. Decor and Costumes by Jorge Gallardo. Paruques by Francois Dussourd and Georges Dejardin.

Cinderella – Another of Thierry Malandains great ensembles, here from the ball in the second act, where 12 dancersa ae performing with 12 busts on roles, it reminded me nearly of “Holiday on Ice”, brilliantly perforemd. Photo by Olivier Houeix.

Cinderella. One of the choreographer Thierry Malandains excellemnt group works, which he musically developes and lets grow. Foto Olivier Houeux.

Thierry Malandain creates also great groups and ensembles such as the opening, where all the dancers are coming to get in a a round group opening up like a flower, and ending up laying like in a cirkel, like at beautiful bouquet of flowers, later repeated. Another choreographic hit is the Dance of the Hours, and earlyer the ball where he is entering 12 rolling busts, dressed up in elegant ling black evening dresses, that makes the ball flow, and i was during the times being reminded of “Holiday on Ice“.  Very well made.

Applaus for Cinderella with Malandin Ballet at Theatre du Chaillot, Paris. Foto: Henning Høholt



Cinderella-ballet, DVD poster with Ashton and Helpmann as the STepsisters, and Margot Fonteyn in the titelrole.

Historically regarding the two Stepsisters and SIr Frederick Ashton:

As it has been a tradition through decades since Sir Frederick Ashton who was widely credited with the creation of a specifically English genre of ballet, and that i still remember as one of the two stepseisters. That he did first time in the wellknovn production Sadler´s Wells Ballet, Royal Opera House, London, 23 December 1948, and renewed for The Royal Ballet in 1965 (new production, restaged and revised by Frederick Ashton); with Margot Fonteyn (Cinderella), David Blair (Prince), Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann, unforgetable as the Stepsisters; London, Premiere 23 December 1965 .


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