When it comes to fairy tales, there are few as popular as the story of Cinderella, the young girl who became the family servant, forced to the ashes of the family hearth, only to have her fairy godmother give her the gifts and opportunity to better herself.
This classic tale will be on display in the Flathead Valley over Mother’s Day weekend, May 10 and 11, when the Northwest Ballet Company performs “Cinderella” for the first time during the company’s 34th annual spring show production.
Company director Marisa Roth said the inspiration behind choosing Cinderella lies in the success of last year’s spring show, “Sleeping Beauty,” which the ballet company also performed for the first time.
“Last year we did Sleeping Beauty, and that was another true ballet classic as well as a brand new show and we had so much fun,” Roth said in an interview last week.
The Northwest Ballet Company is well known for its traditional holiday showings of the “Nutcracker,” and the spring shows have been going on for three-and-a-half decades, Roth noted.
The spring show might not be as popular because it changes from year to year, she said, unlike the powerhouse Nutcracker production. But with variety comes the chance to see and experience something new, even if that something is technically a classic.
“It’s important, especially in the valley, to do a story that is well known,” Roth said.
Cinderella comes from the story by Charles Perrault, also called “The Little Glass Slipper,” and follows a tale of a girl whose stepmother and stepsisters force her to be a servant, until one day her fairy godmother grants her the ability to get into the royal ball, where she meets the prince.
As it nears midnight at the ball and Cinderella’s magic begins to wear off, she flees the ball, leaving one glass slipper for the prince to use to find her.
The Cinderella ballet is also a classic on stage, with music from Sergei Prokofiev; for the Mother’s Day performance, the Northwest Ballet Company will be using Roth’s choreography.
Dancing the principal role as Cinderella, Megan Bridwell said she is excited to premiere a new show for the Flathead, as well as really dig into a new role.
“It’s going to be a good show. I’m really honored to be able to play the lead; I hope I can do it justice,” Bridwell said. “I think it will be really fun for an audience to see something new.”
Bridwell, a junior at Glacier High School, will be joined by the show’s other principal dancer, McKenna Miller, who will dance the role of the stepmother.
“McKenna is a really brilliant artist to work with, she retains choreography and concepts so amazingly easily,” Roth said. “She does a really great job, and she’s a great leader.”
As a senior at Flathead High School, this will be Miller’s final spring show with the company, and Bridwell will be the only principal dancer next season, Roth said.
“I’m so glad that Megan’s such a great leader to look up to, because the girls can really relate to her,” Roth said. “She’s just so down to earth and loving and really inclusive with all of them and all their differences.”
The Cinderella performances will include 12 company dancers, six junior dancers and six pre-company members, Roth said, along with 10 guests to fill in certain roles.
The May 10, 2 p.m. matinee will include free face painting before the show, and the Fairies Parade meet-and-greet with the Northwest Ballet Company after the show.
Before the May 10, 8 p.m. show, Missoula’s professional modern dance company, Bare Bait Dance, will perform excerpts from its repertoire.
The Mother’s Day show, on May 11 at 4 p.m., is geared toward celebrating mothers, Roth said.
With a new take on a classic tale, Bridwell believes the valley is in for a treat with this new show.
“I love how it’s a traditional ballet,” she said. “I think it will be a beautiful show.”
Tickets for Cinderella are available at the Kalispell Grand Hotel, 100 Main Street, 406-755-8100. After May 9, tickets will only be available one hour before each performance at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts box office. Prices are $18 for adults, and $15 for children 12 and under.
Shows are Saturday, May 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 11 at 4 p.m.
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