ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

10/10/2007 - 14/10/2007

Westpac St James, Wellington

31/08/2007 - 08/09/2007

Production Details

Choreographer: Christopher Hampson
Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Designer: Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting: Nick Schlieper


Everyone hates deadlines and poor Cinderella is no exception. Having to flee the society event of the year by midnight might save her some dignity – but will it be at the cost of her future happiness?

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is delighted to announce the world premiere of Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella.

Having the opportunity to bring one of the world’s most-loved stories to life is a dream come true, says the London-based choreographer.

Hampson, who first worked with the RNZB six years ago, describes his interpretation of the classic fairytale as a  “magical and highly romantic take”.

With designs by leading Kiwi designer Tracy Grant Lord (The Wedding), this never-seen-before production promises to delight audiences of all ages.

As a ten year old, Cinderella loses her beloved mother. Her future days seem bleak when her father remarries a vile woman. With two daughters of her own, she cannot stand the fact her stepdaughter, nicknamed Cinderella, is prettier and kinder than her own brood.

As preparations begin for the Prince’s Ball, Cinderella’s chances of getting there are slim. Her step mother pulls out all stops to make sure her own daughters receive the best gowns, jewellery and shoes. Cinders, on the other hand, is left to make her own dress from scraps of material. Luckily, she receives a helping hand from her Fairy Godmother who can get her to the ball with the help of a little magic. But there’s a condition attached – she must leave before midnight. If she fails to do so, the magic will be reversed.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this sumptuous and breathtaking new production. It’s a deadline worth meeting.

Tour Dates:

Wellington, Westpac St James Theatre, 31 August – 8 September
Ticketek 0800 842 538

Invercargill, Civic Theatre, 11 – 12 September
ICC Booking Office 03 211 1692

Dunedin, Regent Theatre, 15 – 16 September
Ticketek 03 477 8597

Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal, 19 – 22 September
Ticketek 03 377 8899

Palmerston North, Regent on Broadway, 25 – 26 September
TicketDirect 0800 484 253

Hastings, Hawke’s Bay Opera House, 29 – 30 September
TicketDirect 0800 484 253

Hamilton, Founders Theatre, 4 – 5 October
TicketDirect 0800 484 253

Auckland, Aotea Centre at THE EDGE®, 10 – 14 October
Ticketek 0800 842 538  

Yu Takayama
Vivencio Samblaceno, Jnr
Abigail Boyle
Alessia Lugoboni
Turid Revfeim
Craig Lord
Rowan Cann
Jo Funaki
Brendan Bradshaw
Michael Braun
WITH Jon Trimmer


Dance ,

Designed to dance

Review by 12th Oct 2007

I am typing over the top of the Atamira review I wrote on the 28th September. The TAPAC part of tempo Dance Festival is over.  Yesterday I performed (lecture demonstration!) for a group of architects who hadn’t even heard that tempo was happening. But the auditorium of the Aotea Centre is full for the RNZB’s Cinderella.

Cinderella is a fabulous tale – it tells us (women) that if we are really, really good we’ll get the prince and lots of wealth/ happiness. I’m not sure it is a fitting way to move into the next phase of what has been an extraordinary series of topical, passionate, quirky, and otherwise thought provoking dance events. It is too unreal.

This production is like a wearable art show. Tracy Grant Lord’s costumes became the point of attention for the unravelling of a three act ballet dancing evening. Both the extravagant, sensual scenes and really gorgeous moving costumes support and sustain Sergei Prokofiev’s rather unembellished score and Christopher Hampson’s plainer choreographic lines.

Some moments though. The ugly sisters; thank goodness they’re not that ugly (education programme?) – just funny and inclined to upstage some rather good blokey dancing. A tall dancing master reminds me once again that I wish the All Blacks would wear tights just once in a game. Really beautiful dancing from the Fairy Godmother and also the spiders, who became gentle reminders of the exquisite androgyny of dancing men.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet Company are obviously a set of mature performers. They are another group designed to dance. They move well; although technically bound by their ballet styles, their performance influence and artistry could be further enabled by  extending far beyond these artistic and social boundaries. 

During this evening of dance, I was reminded of two things; maybe Disney really did Cinderella best and, there’s a child story book about a happy princess who decided she didn’t really need a prince after all.


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Elegance and humour arise from underlying sadness

Review by Lyne Pringle 02nd Sep 2007

Christopher Hampson has created an original and compelling new version of this much loved fairy tale, first premiered as a ballet in 1944 by the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Here, the Wellington Vector Orchestra delivers a fine rendition of Prokofiev’s dark, ironic and vigorous score.

The star of this Royal New Zealand Ballet Production of Cinderella is the design by Tracy Lord Grant. The chosen palette of each scene, the cut and style of the costumes and their relationship to the choreography and characters are all exquisitely wrought by this artist. Compliments must go to the people who have realized the scenography, particularly the stunning rose tree which grows in silhouette on the cyclorama in various scenes drawing audible gasps from the audience.

In Hampson’s production the funeral of Cinderella’s mother is enacted as we enter the theatre. Cinderella plants a solitary rose alluding to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale where a twig is planted which then grows into a magical tree when watered by her tears.  This leads us into the overture; setting the tone of an underlying sadness for the whole work.

The choice to have the action spilling outside of the score nicely tampers with conventions and whets our appetite for the Act that follows. Hampson continues this device with the ballroom being set up in the first interval and John Trimmer doing a lovely comic turn as the royal shoemaker in the second interval.

In Act I Yu Takayama cuts a diminutive and lonely Cinderella as she comes to terms with her grief unsupported by her drunken and weak Father played convincingly by Vivencio Samblaceno, Jnr. There were a lot of objects to be manipulated by Takayama in this scene: an awkwardness in handling these appeared to stand in the way of her really inhabiting her dancing on opening night.  Father and daughter dance their way through some nice partnering before all hell breaks loose with the entrance of the ‘Ugly’ Sisters – played by very attractive women rather than the more conventional choice – a la pantomime – of awkward men.

Comical and clever choreography defines the relationships of this dysfunctional ‘blended’ family. The gangly sisters, played with great energy and skill by Abigail Boyle and Alessia Lugoboni, and Turid Revfeim as an authoritative but not too scary Stepmother, let Cinderella know she is bottom of the pecking order. In this act Alana Baird makes her first appearance as an elegant and lyrical Godmother in a beautiful but somewhat un fairy-like costume.

When the Dressmakers arrive we are immersed in the full force of Hampson’s ability as a choreographer to portray humour. The audience chuckle as sisters are measured, and pampered into their ball clothes. Craig Lord as the dancing master moves with authority and great comic timing as he tries to whip the girls into shape for the ball.

Scene Two is gorgeous and full of splendour as Cinderella – left behind and gownless – consoles herself by the filigreed rose tree where her Fairy Godmother enters stylishly from the fly tower to dance with flowing grace. She conjures Grasshopper, danced again with great flair by Lord, and Rowan Cann and Jo Funaki as two very slick Silk moths with superb elevation, and a group of fast moving Dressmaker/spiders – the link to the previous scene with these characters is satisfying. Excellent dancing all-round leads to the  entrance of the Roses in exquisite costumes matched by exquisite and musical choreography danced beautifully by the corps de ballet. Cinderella exits for the ball in a magnificent chariot that draws applause.

Act II emerges with extreme opulence: swathes of chiffon, chandeliers, a thousand glittering stars and tight, masterful choreography for the corps once again. The visuals are sumptuous. In this scene the dancing really takes off with the corps swirling brilliantly through the space in a repeating waltzing circle motif which matches the music perfectly.

Brendan Bradshaw and Michael Braun as the Prince’s friends show good technique and balon (the ability to seem to hold a position mid air).  Qi Huan enters as the handsome Prince with sprightly jumps and crisp beats. The characters of the Ugly Sisters are more clearly defined by their movement and clumsy attempts to impress the prince.

Cinderella’s entrance is lost dramatically but the lights are beautiful and her tutu glittering with thousands of crystals seems somewhat incongruous amidst the other costumes. Eventually the Prince and Cinderella find themselves in a conventional grand pas de deux with displays of virtuosity. Yu Takayama seems a little stilted at times, some partnering is unsteady but the musicality and choreography swell and surge in great romantic style to deliver some beautiful moments from these lovely dancers. It is undercooked in terms of the burgeoning chemistry between the lovers but their fate is sealed. Stars pulse, the clock ticks and the act comes to an end when Cinderella rushes from the ball leaving behind the all important glass slipper.

As mentioned earlier there is a comical and effective scene with the royal shoemakers, the marriage between concept, design and choreography is fantastic here. A chorus of very sexy legs – I presume representing the numerous shoe fittings – leads us once again to the home of Cinderella where eventually the Prince finds his girl after some comical turns with the glass slipper and the Sisters.  

In the final scene the Prince and Cinderella picnic by the rose tree for a gentle final pas de deux with Takayama more relaxed into the lyricism of the music now. The last scene is nicely understated as opposed to a grand royal wedding and we leave the lovers embracing under a shower of rose petals in true fairy tale fashion.

Like many folk tales, the origins of Cinderella can be traced back centuries and individual elements of the story can be found in almost every culture of the world. Told by bards and entertainers from the ancient world, the story has passed from culture to culture and age to age. With each transition it has been altered, embellished and reworked to make it more immediate to its audience. It is impossible to know the exact number of tales but it has been estimated there are at least 1,500 variations on the theme of Cinderella worldwide, the oldest being a legend from ancient China.


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