Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella: classic tale receives timely update
Christopher Hampson captures the human emotion in this popular tale
Some stories are so embedded in our culture, we don’t even question them – even when they need questioning. Well, thankfully, choreographer Christopher Hampson did some hard thinking when he created his Cinderella for Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007.
‘The one big thing I wanted to do differently, was not to tell a rags-to-riches tale,’ he explains. ‘Because I just don’t think that has a place today. It felt wrong to be propagating the tale of a female getting out of a bad situation through marrying a man – that’s just so old and jaded.’ Quite.
Instead, Hampson focussed on the characters and their individual plights. Still infusing the tale with magic and beauty, but of a more natural variety. Eight years later, Hampson is re-staging the work at Scottish Ballet, bringing a menagerie of dancing wildlife to audiences this Christmas.
‘It was key for me that Cinderella’s journey didn’t rely on jewels and riches – even though she does look beautiful – but that actually it’s the garden where her mother is buried that helps her,’ explains Hampson. ‘It’s the silk moths, spiders and grasshoppers, who are all characters, that help Cinderella get ready. The silk moths spin the silk for her satin shoes, the spiders weave her dress. So it all comes from an organic place.’