Monica Gana as Cinderella and Earl John Arisola as Prince Charming.
Kurt Copon
The lost glass slipper awaits you
NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2019 - 12:00am

When Cinderella left her glass slipper at the ball, she left a timeless tale of bravery, kindness and true love that still keeps the world rolling.

Cinderella’s two wicked stepsisters Jemima Reyes as Prunella and Denise Parungao as Griselda.

The fairy tale is alive as National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes casts her magic wand at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in recreating Cinderella (based on Brothers Grimm fairy tale), a spectacular and riveting ballet performance that can be witnessed up to today. The production is done in celebration of Ballet Philippines’ 50th season.

The rags-to-riches tale is rich in all forms: choreography by Reyes (she first directed Cinderella in 1981) with the musical score of Tchaikovsky specially arranged by National Artist for Music Francisco Feliciano, and set design by the late National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.

The three-act ballet is enthralling from beginning to end. That it mesmerizes the senses is a result of the diligent creativity of those behind the production and the danseurs and ballerinas gliding, jumping, rising, stretching, darting and turning on stage.

Monica Gana as Cinderella and Liza dela Fuente as Widow Brunhilda.

Every assemblé, every plie, every tourne and every arabesque is poetry in motion. And you can’t help falling in love with the kind of love that Cinderella (Monica Gana) and the Prince Charming (Earl John Arisola) share in the end. Oh, how they express their fairy-tale kind of adoration in their fluid movements! Their moves are so effortless they appear like winged seraphs in mid-air. Bravo!

The level of difficulty in the dance routines of Gana and Arisola is seen on their muscles but not on their faces that register ease and comfort. Even Cinderella’s little, negligible tumble towards the end seems to be part of the whole fairy tale — that a perfect story comes with a dent. When love is found, the kind that is sincere, lasting and true, everything becomes faultless, flawless, complete. The fairy tale then becomes a reality in the heart and mind of those who love and love truly, wholeheartedly.

The stage is also lit up by the bubbly presence of Cinderella’s stepmother Brunhilda (Liza dela Fuente) and stepsisters Prunella (Jemima Reyes) and Griselda (Denise Parungao). They essay their roles with aplomb that you find yourself detesting them for their sinister and wicked moves but you also laugh with them. Alice Reyes flavors their characters with redemption as you laugh with these contravidas and you find yourself commiserating with them many times. Or is it just me thinking this way — because they are very natural and real in their portrayal? Standing ovation for these three characters!

Sarah Alejandro as Fairy Godmother.

Not to be outdone are the Fairy Godmother (Sarah Alejandro), the Coachman (Joervy Sanchez) and the Footmen (June Palen, Renzen Arboleda and Edgar Lacaba). They provide powder dust of joy and magic in a magical show.

The Scene 3 of Act 1, in the garden of Brunhilda, is a spellbinding moment of enchantment. What with the White Mice, the Deer, the Bear, the Squirrels dancing and prancing in scenes of revelry and reverence. The Swans, the Fireflies and the Peacocks are coquettish in their dance numbers, inviting and frolicking. The Bluejays, the Cardinal, the Owl leap hither and thither and they excite the senses.

The two Butterflies fly here and there and they take you to your own flights of fancy.

There’s a story of oppression and redemption in Cinderella. The good and evil co-exist they are real. But it is the story of triumph and love never-ending that makes the fairy tale still relevant to this day.

The glass slipper is waiting at the CCP Main Theater. Watch Cinderella and dance your way to a land where your dreams and hopes will live  happily ever after.

(E-mail the author at bumbaki@yahoo.com. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed Sunday!)

CINDERELLA LOST GLASS SLIPPER
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