On the train back to Huddersfield I reflected that Scottish Ballet has always innovated. It began with Mods and Rockers '63 to the Beatles' music in 1963. As Scotland's classical dance company, Scottish Ballet might have been expected to include La Sylphide which is set in the Highlands into their repertoire. And so they do in a sense though they locate it in the gents' loo of a Glasgow community centre rather than a castle and call it (see Scottish Ballet's "Highland Fling" in Gurn and Effie Land 2 May 2018). The company's founder, Peter Darrell is said to have inspired Sir Matthew Bourne who created Highland Fling. Cinders! follows that tradition and I have no doubt that Darrell would have approved of Hampson's creation.
The simplification of the story has made way for some spectacular choreography. Particularly impressive were two duets between Cinders danced by Gina Scott and the Prince danced by Evan Loudon. One takes place at the ball and the other after they eventually find each other. In both of those duets, there are spectacular fish dives. I first noticed Loudon when he danced the Prologue in Emergence with Sophie Martin (see Scottish Ballet - Emergence and Mc14/22 11 June 2017). Scott, however, was new to me and when I posted a comment about her performance on Facebook I learned that both she and I have studied with the same teacher. That teacher remarked that Scott had some special magic I knew exactly what she teacher must have meant. Scott must have shown remarkable promise as a student. The reason I had not noticed Scott before is that she joined the company only last year. I shall certainly follow her career with interest in the future.
Other dancers who impressed me were Grace Horler who danced Mrs Thorne and Thomas Edwards who danced her son, Tarquin. I had been a fan of Horler since 2017 when I saw her in Hansel and Gretel (see Hansel and Gretel in Newcastle - a bit like falling in love 4 Feb 2017). I first noticed Edwards for his performance as Dr Coppelius. I should add that everybody in the show danced well and all deserve commendation.
This company had commissioned new sets and costumes from the young Welsh designer Elin Steele. She graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama only in 2018 and has already acquired an impressive portfolio. Her costume for Cinders's entrance to the ball was dazzling. Cinders was clad entirely in white. She shed her veil to reveal a skirt in the colours of the prince's uniform. The sets for the shop, ball and rose garden were ingenious and intricate. The last scene with its Christmas tree uplifted the dancers and audience.
I should mention Hayley Egan's video designs. Her simulated newspaper headlines about the fire, survival of Cinders and Mrs Thorne's purchase of the haberdashery shop launched the story. Her projections marked each change of scene,
Cinders! should be danced alongside Cinderella much in the way that the English National Ballet retains both Mary Skeaming; 's Giselle as well as Akram Khan's. Both Cinders! and Cinderella have merit and each helps audiences to understand and appreciate the other.