Les Ballet de Monte Carlo with ‘Cinderella’ at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

I was in the presence of greatness last night when Jean-Christophe Maillot’s brilliant version of Cinderella was performed by Les Ballet de Monte Carlo at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.  I was so mesmerized by the performance that I couldn’t wait for the intermissions to be over. Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, one of Europe’s most acclaimed ballet companies, is so well disciplined that the smallest detail emerged with precision and fluidity. The accuracy of each dancer was astonishing, and Maillot’s sentimentality and wit shine as bright as the dancer.

When the curtain rises for the prologue, Cinderella is sitting in a chair. From the depths of her solitude, she remembers her father, Chris Roelandt, and mother, Mimoza Koike, who later becomes the Fairy, dancing with love and affection. Their dance is filled with life, before Koike catches herself in weakness a few times and dies. Maillot’s choreography is so attuned to the music that the dance is illuminated and Mimoza Koike instantly holds fairy-like grace. Maillot’s heart and passion create a stunningly beautiful prologue. As I watched them move in unison, I already felt drawn into the life on stage.

Maillot’s sense of humor emerges later in the ballet as he builds the plot around a foot fetish. The foot was the defining structural element of the story. It is the foot that turns the prince’s world around and inspires him to travel far and wide, paying close attention to every foot on the way. Rather than focusing on the virtue of Cinderella or the evil of her step-family, he built his ballet on the idea of the foot fetish.

Other humorous favorites were the two Superintendents of Pleasure, gentlemen in charge of facilitating the glorious excess and plotting of the stepmother and her two daughters. Their loud and cheeky onstage presence was a constant source of amusement.

The show comes full circle and ends in an unexpected stroke of sentimentality. As Cinderella embraces her prince, parallel dances by Cinderella and the Prince and the fairy godmother and father show Cinderella has found her own true love. Seeing her daughter’s happiness, the mother can now leave this world after an elegant, final dance with the father.

Maillot reveals the emotions of the characters through movement and a new language emerges through dance. The Fairy, also Cinderella’s mother, Mimoza Koike, didn’t need fairy-dust to shine like a star on stage. I was transfixed by her every movement and often forgot about what else was going on around her. Her presence on stage was all-consuming and I would return to Les Ballet de Monte Carlo again and again just to catch a glimpse of her on stage.

Les Ballet de Monte Carlo is an exclusive West Coast engagement from February 9-12, under the Presidency of H.R.H the Princess of Hanover. In additional to the performances of Cinderella at Segerstrom Hall, highlights of the week include Monegasque-inspired menus at local restaurants, a luxury raffle for a chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Monaco, a not-to-be missed exhibit in South Coast Plaza’s Jewel Court showcasing Monaco’s unique cultural heritage and Princess Grace’s exceptional contribution to the arts through photos, videos, ballet artifacts and more. For more information about ‘Monaco takes Orange County,’ visit MonacoTakesUs.com

Les Ballet de Monte Carlo
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
February 9-12th, 2012
Tickets: Start at $13.50
http://www.scfta.org/home/default.aspx
Phone: 714-556-2787 

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41 thoughts on “Les Ballet de Monte Carlo with ‘Cinderella’ at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa

  1. I’m working the show and it’s amazing!! Gorgeous costumes and beautiful lighting abound!! This is one of the shows that makes me very excited about my job : ) The cast and crew are wonderful as well!

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      • Well Lesley, I work at the Center all of the time so if you even want a backstage tour I can provide one. I won’t promise it will be exciting but it’s usually cool to see the “other side”!

        I am very lucky to work where I do : ) AND the Monte Carlo cast and crew were fantastic!

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  2. In my childhood, the Ballet de MonteCarlo came to Dallas every year. The star of the show was the great Nijinski who it was said achieved amazing dance steps because he had an extra toe on the back of his heel. Have no idea if it was true but I did see one of his last performances and he was amazing! So glad you have experienced seeing this amazing company. Anne

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  3. The arts have the ability to uplift the soul and mind for eternity. The arts take us to a place away from human suffering and allows for all too brief a time to see clearly into forever.

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  4. Yeah !! Let’s keep the Arts Alive !!! Such a wonderful experience. I still remember a performance of Sleeping Beauty i saw in Budapest, it will always stay with me, and that is worth any price of admission !
    Thanks for all the likes Lesley, not quite sure how to respond to them easily, but I greatly appreciate it ! Look forward to your next adventure .
    Judy

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  5. Magical enchantment I feel here in this post on the Costa Mesa production of Cinderella. Your photos and your writing match so well the magic of this ageless story and these expert ballet dancers. Not to mention the costumes and the backdrops and props!

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  6. I have island.girl envy! The big island has many things and yet lacks a venue that draws dance of this caliber. I’m hoping I’ll catch them somewhere in the world at a later date. Thanks for the pictures and the post!

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  7. Wow! So jealous! Those pictures look amazing and, from your writing, it sounds like it was a truly amazing performance! Would love to be lucky enough to be able to go see this.

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  8. How very strange that people think of ballet as very classy and high society, and of the person who visits theatres as smart or at least very educated (that is uptight if they don’t like the person); but rarely visit theatres themselves or at least find them boring in comparison to movies.

    I for one could use a little more theatre in my life…

    cheers.

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  9. I too, love dance. There is something about the combination of the music, movement, and costumes that transports the viewer into another dimension. Through your writing and pictures we feel we like we were a part of the audience.

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  10. The funny hting about the foot fetish is that after all the training and hard work, ballet feet are seldom what people would call traditionally good looking. Great story inspiring me to get out and experience more arts way across this continent

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  11. Ah, this reminds me of Maurice Bejart’s version of Cinderella for the Paris Opera Ballet, I think. It’s a fantastic modern version.

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