Cinderella Malandain / Prokofiev

While remaining faithful to the dramaturgy of Cinderella and to the score by Prokofiev, Thierry Malandain developed a very personal approach, exploring some themes that he holds dear. « Cendrillon » is the path of a star, a dancing star. Malandain took us on the road to Accomplishment. A road passing through doubt, denial, pain and hope to finally reach light. Through this vision, made of ashes and magic, sometimes tragic, sometimes comical, something quite universal was written.

Thierry Malandain

created on 3rd June 2013 at Kursaal de San Sebastián (Espagne)

first representation in France on 7th June 2013 at the Opera Royal de Versailles with l’Orchestre Symphonique d’Euskadi, under the direction of Josep Caballé-Domenech

music Serge Prokofiev (Cendrillon op.87)
choreography Thierry Malandain
set and costumes Jorge Gallardo
production manager, lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié
costume production Véronique Murat assisted by Anaïs Abel, Nelly Geyrès, Charlotte Guicherd, Charlotte Margnoux, Laura Tavernier
set and accesory production Chloé Bréneur, Alain Cazaux, Annie Onchalo
wig makers François Dussourd, Georges Dejardin

coproduced by Opéra Royal de Versailles / Château de Versailles, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Opéra de Reims, Teatro Victoria Eugenia – San Sebastián, Estate Teatrale Veronese, Lugano in Scena, Teatro Mayor de Bogotá, Artevent – Regione de Veneto, Teatros del Canal – Madrid, Théâtre Olympia d’Arcachon, Espace Jéliote – Scène Conventionnée CCPO d’Oloron Sainte-Marie, Malandain Ballet Biarritz

duration of the entire ballet 94’
ballet for 20 dancers

For his ballet Cendrillon, Thierry Malandain received in 2014, in Berlin, the Award for Best Choregrapher award at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards, adwarded by the Malakhov Foundation. 

Last June, the Royal Opera of Versailles was the showcase of Prokofiev’s delightful Cinderella by Thierry Malandain, one of the rare French choreographers who work in the field of neoclassical ballet. At odds with the beautiful and dark ballet formerly composed by Maguy Marin (still on tour), Thierry Malandain provided a brighter interpretation, though he did not erase the character of the beaten child... Cinderella, often accompanied by her heartbreaking leitmotif, was often on the ground, using a rag with a resigned gesture. But what a vital power when she ran diagonally to storm the stage! [...] Even outside Louis XV paneling, Cinderella by Malandain can settle anywhere like a beautiful object, with a wonderful scenery composed of black high heels hanged and aligned up like the repeating pattern of a painting...

Télérama, Emmanuelle Bouchez, 31st August 2013

What a ballet! And what a story! Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, Massenet, Prokofiev, Bolshoi Ballet, the Opéra-Comique... Cinderella continues to be an inspiration. One day or another, this tale became a challenge for choreographers, as did the Rite of Spring. Thierry Malandain did not fight against this attraction and the version he gave us, faithful to Prokofiev and his fantastic universe, was a success.

Le Figaro Magazine, François Deletraz, 2d August 2013

There was the girl in tatters who smelled like ashes by sleeping in the hearth... And then there was the girl with no broom, no floor-cloth, simply wearing a modest but perfect little grey dress. The choreographer and director of Ballet Biarritz Thierry Malandain did a good choice when he decided to refine Cinderella’s image. Performed at the Royal Opera of Versailles, his version of this famous ballet succeeded in revivifying the traditional vision of Perrault’s tale while retaining the conflicting tensions hiding deeply in this story relentlessly talking about jealousy and desire. The scenery, which remained unchanged throughout the whole performance, confirmed the elegant economy of this ballet for twenty-two dancers to the music by Sergei Prokofiev. [...] Following the blueprint of the great Cinderella choreographies, more particularly the version created by Frederick Ashton in 1948 or the ballet by Rudolf Noureev in 1986 (in which only the cruel stepmother was interpreted by a man on pointe shoes), Thierry Malandain chose to be neither too aggressive nor too burlesque. Harmonious, flowing, inventive and based on solid classical technique, his choreography brought a breath of light and fresh air that made Cinderella float.

La Scène, Rosita Boisseau, 21st June 2013

A scenery of stilettos toppling over the walls, a Cyr wheel as a carriage and nothing else: dance, everything for dance. Thierry Malandain only relies on it. No colour in his Cinderella which runs during an hour and a half in a scenography rich of only some grey tones. Dance outlines, tells, enchants. The music of Prokofiev gives it a fluid and jazzy way in this swingy and Broadway-like classic referring to Noureev version. But the comparison goes no further. In his Cinderella, Noureev made a film and paid tribute to Hollywood, while Thierry Malandain is organising the world. [...]And dance blossomed all along the tale, in all the space, wonderfully inventive and captivating. Was it not a story about shoes, we should tip our hat to Malandain.

Le Figaro, Ariane Bavelier, 11th June 2013

As for Thierry Malandain, he composed for Cinderella an extremely flowing, brilliant, ethereal, sometimes gossamery, often inventive and always spiritual choreography, performed by remarkable dancers who outstandingly played the roles they were casted in. The ballet company being middle- sized (20 dancers on stage), each of the dancers played an interesting role and performed it with conviction. When you see them on stage, one clearly notices the harmonious working environment of this troupe. [...] One of Thierry Malandain’s virtues is to be fundamentally honest, a quality mostly reflected in his work that proves a search for fairness and eloquence in order to avoid the platitudes and ponderousness of a narrative ballet as far as possible. The whole piece is lively, inventive and sometimes ingenious.

Le Nouvel Observateur, Raphaël de Gubernatis, 7th June 2013

“After Rudolf Nureyev, Frederick Ashton or Heinz Spoerli, Thierry Malandain played the role of the white knight, or Prince Charming. Waking up at dawn, this tireless worker listened and listened again the notes of the Russian devil. [...] As a musician at heart, he managed, as always, to unite sounds and bodies in a common impulse. [...] The large stage is surrounded by an audaciously modern, light and somewhat threatening scenery, composed of hundreds of stilettos hung like big black birds under the moonlight. [...] Cinderella stands there, with an aura of mystery. The elves and glimmers keep their promises. And here comes already the ball with its huge whirl of black and bright figures, waltzing to Prokofiev’s sharp notes. Despair, love, trust. Never have we seen such strength in this ballet both light and dark. Except for Maguy Marin’s version. And like Maguy Marin, Thierry Malandain had a good reason to wake up the little cinder girl.

L'Express, Laurence Liban, 27th May 2013