Cinderella | Pointe of View


Every Monday, I feature an image and backstory from my Pointe of View series.

On Friday, I had the privilege of attending opening night of the San Francisco Ballet’s Cinderella– a birthday gift from my friend Dan. It was a brand new production by Christopher Wheeldon, based on the Brothers Grimm version of the tale– a far darker version than the Disney story we’ve come to know. It was, in short, magical. From an opening scene so intricately layered in mesh and pinpointed lighting to the carriage scene complete with floating silks and a giant (hidden) fan machine that closed out the first act to the row of chairs that took flight to create an overhead arch framing Cinderella and her prince , nothing was held back in the production design.

Even with all of the theatrics, the dancing was a delight unto itself. Maria Kochetkova was beautiful as Cinderella, transitioning from tentative girl to belle of the ball. There was abundant humor in the stepmother and stepsisters, with Frances Chung as the standout character of the trio. It wasn’t a perfect show. Some of the scenes and character pieces seemed a bit excessive (especially the inexplicable foreign princesses who were strange caricatures that did not fit the scene in any way). But if anyone ever doubted the magic of a story ballet, this would be the show that puts all doubts to rest. For me, the pull still comes back to the story of Cinderella. Cut through the fanfare, and a delicate emotional thread is still in there somewhere. A young girl loses her mother, is kicked down by those around her, and with kindness and generosity, rises above it all. That is the fantasy we love to hope for.

Ballet dancer: Caroline Dennis

Hair: Justina Downs
Makeup: Julianne Chai, Pretty By Julianne
Assistant: Cassandra Manansala
Location: Berkeley City Club, Berkeley CA

Pointe of View is a ballerina series by Anna Wu Photography. The Kickstarter project raised over $12,000 in a month. If you didn’t get to order your copy of the book yet, sign up here to be notified when more copies are available for purchase.