Cinderella set to enchant Bangkok audiences

Cinderella. Photo courtesy of Rising Star Dance Studio

Rising Star Dance Studio will treat Bangkok audiences with performances of the ballet of Cinderella, on May 27-28 at 2.30pm at the M Theatre on New Petchaburi Road. A dress rehearsal/press performance will take place on May 25 at 6pm.

Rising Star’s annual performances of full-length ballets have been cultural highlights for family audiences, both Thai and expat, since 1995. A portion of the proceeds from the performances are donated to the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand.

Cinderella is the universal story of a girl who after years of neglect and abuse achieves success and love because of her good heart. It dates back to eighth century Greece, with versions developing in China, the Middle East and Europe until 1687 when Charles Perrault of France added the pumpkin, fairy-godmother and glass slipper we enjoy in most modern versions.

Perrault’s story is the basis for the Sergei Prokofiev ballet originally commissioned by the Kirov Ballet that was first performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow on Nov 21, 1945, choreographed by Rotslav Zahkarov with Olga Lepeshinskaya as Cinderella, and a score based on Tchaikovsky’s ballets. In 1946, the Kirov Ballet premiered their version. Prokofiev noted, “I see Cinderella not only as a fairy tale character but also as a real person, feeling, experiencing and moving among us.”

Rising Star’s production of the ballet, based on the 1948 Royal Ballet staging by Sir Frederick Ashton, will be directed and choreographed by the studio’s director Fay Pansringarm, who brings to it her many years of experience as a dancer, director and choreographer in New York. Fay has lived in Bangkok since 1987 with her husband and co-studio director Vithaya Pansringarm and their son, Aaron.

This year’s performance, complete with an array of dancing mice, pumpkins, horses and fairies, features one of Thailand’s best known ballerinas, Maho Mashimo, a regular performer with the San Diego Ballet and in Japan. Mashimo, a former student at Rising Star, trained professionally at Rock School, one of America’s foremost, elite ballet academies. Her prince will be danced by Anurak Ngamta, Thailand’s foremost male ballet dancer. Anurak, the lead dancer in musicals and dance productions in Malaysia, Japan, and Thailand, delighted audiences nationwide with his performance of Heart And Soul on Thailand’s Got Talent.

Rising Star’s associate director Yuko Nakamura, who danced the lead role in the 2011 production, imparts her exquisite artistry and years of experience mentoring this year’s dancers. Nakamura previously trained and performed with the San Francisco Ballet Company.

Following tradition, the wicked stepmother and stepsisters will be performed by male dancers. Popular Thai musical artist and accomplished ballet dancer Ton Arkkand Wapakpetch guarantees a wickedly masterful performance as the stepmother. Two of Thailand’s best male ballet dancers, Itthipat Semarat (assistant choreographer of Thai TV’s The Star and musical Lom Hai Jai) and Padparadscha Kaewploy (a professor at Rajabhat Suan Sunandha University who danced in Italy’s Teatro Oplas), add a hilarious touch to the show as the stepsisters.

The lasting appeal of the Cinderella story is evidenced by the numerous creative works it has inspired worldwide for centuries: 12 operas, five ballets, 14 musical theatre productions, 43 films, 21 novels, 38 songs, one ice show, one video game and even a jump rope song.

Rising Star Dance Studio has been training and entertaining Bangkok residents of all ages and nationalities in the art of ballet since 1995.

Performances on May 27-28 start at 2.30pm and run two acts, totalling approximately 95 minutes, plus a 20-minute intermission. Tickets are 900 baht. Call 081-908-3931 or 081-553-0656.