Cinderella Rolls Into Asheville In Her Golden Carriage - TribPapers

Cinderella Rolls Into Asheville In Her Golden Carriage

The wicked stepmother and stepsisters, photo submitted.

Asheville – A kaleidoscope of confectionary colors graced the stage on May 4th as the World Ballet Series performed Cinderella. The costumes—over 150 radiant costumes that were hand-sewn in Ukraine—and hand-crafted and richly detailed stage sets and lighting created a delectable vision for the audience, and the choreography and grace of the dancers were superb.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was how many Cinderellas were actually in attendance. Walking through the lobby of Harrah’s Cherokee Center (aka the old Asheville Civic Center) this writer was delighted to see perhaps dozens of little girls wearing tiaras and Cinderella costumes of all sorts. Their excitement was palpable, and I learned that many of them are already in dance classes of their own.

Cinderella arrives in her golden carriage, photo submitted.
Cinderella arrives in her golden carriage, photo submitted.

The Cinderella ballet, presented by Gorshaya-Hartwick Productions, is part of a 130-city tour that brings the magic of this family-friendly fairytale to audiences in cities big and small across the country.

A History of the Cinderella Tale

One of the oldest and most beloved folktales, the story of Cinderella dates to sometime between 7 BC and AD 23 with the Greek tale of Rhodopis. Since then, there have been over 1,500 versions of it including the most widely known by French author Charles Perrault from which most ballet productions are derived. Set to a passionate score by composer Sergei Prokofiev, the ballet tells of young Cinderella, who is a victim of cruel circumstances but whose unwavering kindness is rewarded with her dreams of a better life coming true.

A Company of Dancers from 10 Countries

The World Ballet Series’ classically styled production of Cinderella, with original choreography by Estonia’s Marina Kesler, is designed for a modern viewer. There were many laughs throughout the night as the performance overflowed with humor, charm, and adroit dancing by a multinational cast of 40 top-flight professional dancers from ten countries, including Italy, France, Poland, Japan, Belarus, and the United Kingdom.

Little Cinderellas attend the ballet. Brinley Moore in blue and Denni McCurry in white. Photo by Christine Robinson.
Little Cinderellas attend the ballet. Brinley Moore in blue and Denni McCurry in white. Photo by Christine Robinson.

Says Kesler of the ballet, “The choreographic language is classical, using the most complex elements of Vaganova ballet technique. The idea was to evoke a cinematic feeling in the viewer where every gesture and scene is made clear.”

Because there are no words in a ballet, the dancers have to portray all of their thoughts and feelings with their body language and their faces. The prima ballerina had a classic girl next door beauty, akin to Audrey Hepburn, and led the audience through the emotions of disappointment to ultimate happiness. The premier dancer was the handsome Prince, who didn’t expect to find love yet thrilled in the discovery.

The wicked stepmother and stepsisters were hilarious in their roles and played the parts very well, displaying greed and avarice, yet even they ultimately found love.

The Prima Ballerina

Dancing the lead role of Cinderella was World Ballet Series principal dancer Ekaterina Malkovich. The former Ural Opera Ballet star and two-time nominee for the coveted Golden Mask Award says of the role: “If we talk about my own character and worldview, I think some features are similar to my approach to portraying Cinderella. Despite her circumstances, she looks at the world with kindness and never allows anger or grief to get the better of her.”

A company member since 2019, Malkovich says touring life with World Ballet Series is like being with a big family. We spend almost all day, every day, together. I like to travel, see new cities, and meet interesting people. The people in America are very friendly,” she says.

Malkovich has danced numerous soloist and principal roles, including Giselle in Giselle, Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Paquita in Yuri
Krasavin’s Paquita (2019) for Ural Opera Ballet. She has garnered numerous honors, including nominations as best artist for the prestigious Golden Mask Award in 2017 for her role as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and in 2018 as Giannina in Naiad and the Fisherman.

The Premier Dancer

Performing as Prince Charming was Konstantin Geronik, an honored artist of Belarus. Geronik was born in Kyiv and graduated from the Belarusian State Choreographic College in 2010 with distinction. He joined the ballet company of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. He has danced numerous leading roles, including Basilio in Don Quixote, Ali in Le Corsaire, and The Bronze Idol in La Bayadère.

World Ballet Series’ new generation of dancers included critics’ favorite Angelina Zgurskaya in the role of Cinderella’s stepmother, along with Ekaterina Lukianova and Ayzhamal Abdrakhmanova dancing as her hilarious stepsisters.

A Memorable Experience

Based in Los Angeles, World Ballet Series tour co-producers Sasha Gorskaya and Gulya Hartwick say of Cinderella, “We always aim to exceed expectations. We create each production’s choreography, scenic design, and cast our dancers with the goal of bringing the highest quality to the stage. We want that for our audiences across the country, for many of whom it might be the first time seeing a ballet like Cinderella. We want their experience to be a memorable one full of the indescribable beauty that is ballet.”

The company attracts many international artists and is comprised of renowned professional dancers representing over ten countries who are united by a passion for entertaining audiences and enriching classical ballet traditions through brilliant, critically acclaimed new productions of timeless ballet classics.

For a complete tour schedule, dancer bios, and more, visit