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Once Upon a Time there was... Cinderella
April 1, 2018
The Prince and Cinderella, performed by two dancers at the National Ballet of Ukraine

Summary of the ballet in three acts by Victor Lytvynov

Act I
Cinderella lives a hard life in her late father's house. Her evil stepmother makes her do all the dirtiest household chores. Cinderella's only chance to relax and dream of a better life is on those rare nights in front of the fireplace. Her stepsisters Grouch and Poseur are always arguing and making a fuss. What else is there for them to do? Their lives are made up only of laziness and boredom. Many tears have been shed by the little Cinderella as Grouch and Poseur, together with their mother, try so hard to make her life a living nightmare. Nevertheless, Cinderella wishes to believe that there is some invisible friend beside her, someone who loves her and suffers for her unhappiness... And this is what gives the girl the power to go on.

The stepmother dreams of the future and of marrying off her two daughters to rich men to live rich lives. So, she often invites merchants, courtiers and musicians to the house so that they can teach Grouch and Poseur good manners and prepare them for life in the upper class. All her efforts are doubled when it is announced that there will soon be a Court ball! Finally, the long awaited day arrives… The King's ministers arrive at the house to deliver an invitation to the mother and her daughters to attend the ball.

Cinderella believes that she will be allowed to go to the ball, too. Like every other young girl, she dreams of spending a night in the King's Palace, dancing to the sounds of the royal orchestra. Her eyes twinkle at the thought! But, Cinderella's evil stepsisters won't let this happen. They go for her, damaging her only dress, which was quite modest anyway, so that she can completely forget about going to the ball.

When everyone is gone to the party and silence envelops the house, Cinderella starts dreaming again, imagining herself at the ball, where the charming Prince will meet her… Suddenly she sees her fairy godmother, the good enchantress, who has been watching over the dreaming girl. She makes a promise to Cinderella that she will go to the King's ball no matter what efforts it will take.

The room then turns into a marvelous garden. Ladies and gentlemen are promenading in the "rose garden"… The fairy godmother touches Cinderella with her wand and the girls sees the Prince, and she, herself, dressed as a beautiful princess. Disbelieving, Cinderella is confused, but joyous. The crystal slippers that she puts on are the final proof of the fairy godmother's miracle work. A bit further along in the darkness is the Palace, all bright and shiny in its decorations and thousands of lights. Soon the ball will start. Cinderella rushes, splendidly light as air, so light one might say wings are taking her to her happiness…

Happiness is awaiting her indeed, somewhere there in the Palace, but so are obstacles.

Act II
The big ballroom in the King's palace is crowded with guests. Cinderella's stepmother and her daughters, Grouch and Poseur, are there, too. The King appears, accompanied by his ministers. Everyone is waiting for the appearance of the Prince. The courtiers are strutting around in their smart garments and fashionable shoes. Suddenly, everyone freezes as a beautiful Princess arrives in the ball room. Nobody can recognize her pretty face and nobody could ever guess that this is Cinderella, the poor servant girl.

The Prince catches a glimpse of the unknown beauty. Cinderella looks at him and recognizes the young man, who she saw earlier in the fairy Godmother's miracle image. The Prince and Cinderella are entirely charmed by each other.

The world melts away for them and it is now just them two, existing only for each other, but time is running out. At exactly midnight, when the hands of the clock reach their peak, all the guests see this poor girl in her old dress in the middle of the ball room. The confused Prince picks up the little crystal slipper from the ground, missing Cinderella's escape. How could he believe that only a moment earlier this girl was a Princess?

All the courtiers try hard to entertain the Prince, but even the greatest beauties of the Kingdom cannot make him forget about the unknown Princess, who disappeared so suddenly in the middle of the ball. Who is she? Where is she now? These thoughts keep going through the Prince’s mind. The Prince realizes that he has truly fallen in love and decides to turn the world upside down in order to find the beautiful Princess. He travels to Spain and later to the East, but all is in vain as he cannot find his beloved.

The fairy godmother comes to help the Prince. She shows him the road to the house where Cinderella lives, but seeing this maid in her old dress, the Prince cannot recognize her lovely face. Grouch and Poseur do all their best to persuade the Prince that one of them is the one he is looking for, the beautiful Princess. The young Prince loses his last hopes to find the beloved girl. One more moment and he will leave the house where he was sent by the fairy godmother. The enchantress is surprised. How can the Prince miss to hear his heart when he is so close to his love?

Cinderella is confused and embarrassed. In her despair she throws her crystal slipper in the fire place. The crystal melts in the flames and the light reflects on Cinderella's face. And here that great power, which only those who have been in love know, makes the Prince look at Cinderella's face and recognize the princess who conquered his heart.

And they both disappear into the miracle Kingdom of dreams…

Duration and Artistic Team
1, 2018
View of the stage design during a performance of the ballet Cinderella