Cinderella Ballet Story

Cinderella has been a popular story for over a hundred years, but it was only turned into a ballet after 1945, when Sergei Prokofiev finished writing the musical score.  The Cinderella Ballet Story has different versions, but the synopsis below is the most popular.

Fredrick Ashton was the first person to stage a full-length Cinderella ballet story production using Prokofiev’s music in the West, but Ben Stevenson’s production remains the most popular since its premier in 1970.

 

cinderella ballet storyCinderella Ballet Story – Synopsis

Act 1:

A Room In Cinderella’s Father’s House

Cinderella’s stepsisters are busy embroidering a shawl to wear at the court ball that they have been invited to.

Cinderella is seated at the fireside.  After the sisters quarrel and leave the room, Cinderella recalls happier days when her Mother was alive.  Her Father who is twice a widower, wants to be kind to her, but is afraid of his bad-tempered stepdaughters who scold him angrily when he tries to comfort her.

A mysterious old beggar-woman appears and begs for alms.  After the sisters drive her away, Cinderella gives her bread.  The old woman casts a gentle look at the kind girl and then disappears.

Dressmakers, a hairdresser and a jeweler arrive and the sisters dress for the ball.  A dancing master and two violinists enter and the sisters practice the gavotte.   Cinderella’s father and his stepdaughters set out for the ball, and Cinderella is left sadly alone.

Again the mysterious beggar-woman appears and, throwing off her disguise, reveals herself as the Fairy Godmother.  She summons the Fairies of the Four Seasons and their attendants who bring seasonal gifts for Cinderella, as a reward for her kindness.

Just before Cinderella sets off for the ball, the Fairy Godmother warns her that she must leave the ball before the clock strikes twelve, or all the magic charms will fade away, and Cinderella, the Princess, will once more be a scullery maid.  Escorted by the Seasons and the Stars, Cinderella drives to the ball in a carraige.

Act II

A Ball At The Palace

The ball has begun, courtiers move about in a formal dance and then the jester dances.  Cinderella’s father and stepsisters arrive.

A fanfare, and the Prince is announced.  Mysterious musiccinderella ballet story is heard and Cinderella appears, so beautiful that all take her for a princess; even her stepsisters fail to recognize her.

The Prince, charmed by her beauty, offers her three oranges, the rarest fruit in his land. The dancers disperse and the Prince and Cinderella, left alone, declare their love for each other.  The waltz is resumed and, caught up by the dance, Cinderella forgets the Fairy’s warning.

The clock strikes twelve and Cinderella rushes from the palace, losing a slipper on the way. The Prince, dismayed, picks up the lost slipper and swears to find the girl he loves.

Act III

After The Ball

Scene 1:  A room in the house of Cinderella’s Father

Scene 2:  An Enchanted Garden

Cinderella awakens at her own fireside.  Was it all a dream?  The slipper hidden in her apron convinces her that she really was in the palace and had danced with the Prince.

The sisters run in, tell Cinderella about their conquests at the ball and show her all their oranges.  Women rush in to say that the Prince is looking everywhere for the girl who lost the slipper.

The Prince appears and the sisters try on the slipper.  Cinderella kneels to help, and the second slipper falls out of her apron.  The Prince recognizes in the modest Cinderella the beautiful Princess of the ball and the Fairy Godmother appears to unite the lovers, who live happily every after.

Here is an extract from the Cinderella ballet – the ballroom scene.

4 thoughts on “Cinderella Ballet Story”

  1. A very big hello Michel! And I want to thank you for an excellent article which I thoroughly enjoyed reading through. I must confess, I’ve never been to the ballet but I have hopes of one day going along to enjoy a performance. Cinderella would be at the top of my list. Especially after reading this post and being reminded what a powerful, moving story it truly is!
    I bet seeing it performed live at the ballet would be mesmerizing!
    It was beautiful to watch the ballroom scene video you included! Truly stunning.
    Would this be a favorite piece of yours..?

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  2. I am a sucker for a classic romance! I enjoyed reading your post, and thought how lovely it would be to go and see this as a ballet. Ballet is something I have never been to before, but is something I very much enjoyed when I was younger. I hope to have a daughter one day who will take it up, maybe I might end up watching her on stage 🙂

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