Curriculum-based activities and background information for Teachers.All About Ballet Resources
Cinderella is the heroine of the story, a young woman who overcomes difficult circumstances not of her making and retains her integrity. At the beginning of the ballet we see her mother die which sets the scene for Cinderella’s dramatic change in life circumstances.
When her father re-marries, Cinderella's stepmother sees her as someone that might challenge her and cause problems with her new husband, and she allows her daughters to strip Cinderella of her possessions and reduce her to a kitchen skivvy.
The stepmother seeks to stamp her overpowering personality all over the house by re-designing the décor. She encourages her daughters’ selfish behaviour and goads them into tormenting Cinderella, making her life a misery.
Cinderella’s stepsisters have exaggerated costumes in neon colours, which immediately flag them up to an audience as jarring and uncouth characters. They take all Cinderella’s possessions from her and smear her mother’s ashes into her face as final act of degradation.
The father is a weak man who has lost his one true love (Cinderella’s real mother), and in turn, his spirit. He stands by while Cinderella is tormented because he cannot stand up to his new wife. He drowns his sorrows in alcohol.
The Godmother offers Cinderella a way out of her abject poverty by transforming her to go to the ball. Her transformation allows her to meet the Prince but her true personality is what the Prince falls in love with and why he seeks her out. The Godmother shows us Cinderella’s kind personality when she appears early on in the ballet as a poor old woman with no shoes and Cinderella gives her slippers. In the course of the ballet we discover that the Godmother is the spirit of Cinderella’s mother.
The Prince, when we first meet him is seen to be rather a spoiled and pampered young man. He is bored and doesn’t want to attend the ball. His growing love for Cinderella and her own natural humility help him to mature into the heroic figure we expect to meet.