14 December 2018
For the past ten weeks, our younger son has been working with the Scottish Ballet in their final preparations for their tour of Cinderella. He was complementing the work of Brian Prentice, the company pianist, playing for classes and rehearsals.
So there was nothing else for it but to go and see Prokofiev’s ballet. We weren’t disappointed. Christopher Hampson, the Chief Executive and Artistic Director was the choreographer. He told the traditional tale with crispness, depth and warmth.
Three things stood out. Firstly, the ridiculous antics of the two ugly sisters. Clearly, they were exceptional dancers for none could make a fool of ballet dancing in such a stylish way without the agility and accuracy of a true star.
Secondly, the developing romance between Cinderella and the Prince. They were exceptional dancers. As their relationship developed and deepened so the trust between them strengthened. We saw that in the lifts and throws.
Thirdly, the beautiful set and, in particular, the abiding theme of the rose and the rosebush. Right at the start, Cinderella plants a rose on her mother’s grave. It grows into a bush beautifully filling centre stage.
The rose is a symbol of love. We know that from the days of our National Bard. And it’s love which brings redemption – assuages a daughter’s grief, rights the wrongs perpetrated against her, draws the Prince towards her and provides us with a happy ever after ending.
‘Love came down at Christmas.’ sings Christina Rossetti. It’s the predominant theme of the season. It has within it beauty as well as a sharp thorn. Redemption doesn’t come cheap but now we know it is embedded into the structure of Creation which God described as very good.