Students at the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan have staged a production of the timeless fairy tale “Cinderella” by Sergei Prokofiev, a ballet that took multiple hands to bring the fairy tale to life.
From the dance students to costume and set design, technical teams and a large production crew, Interlochen Center for the Arts Dance Director Joseph Morrissey, who led the “Cinderella” production, sat down to talk about the creative collaboration that went into creating the performance and how the production has provided him with opportunities to tell the classic story in a new way.
Plus, we hear from several of the dancers involved, who share their favorite moments about the production, as well as Interlochen’s Costume Shop Supervisor Amanda Lifvendahl, who talks about some of the costume’s connections to Ukraine.
Stream the full version of the Interlochen Arts Academy’s performance of “Cinderella” Monday, April 24 at 9 p.m. on Detroit Public Television.
Bryce Huffman, BridgeDetroit, Reporter: This year, the talented Interlochen Arts Academy dance students have taken on a classic. Sergei Prokofiev Cinderella ballet, bringing this fairy tale on stage takes a lot of creative collaboration. Here’s Interlochen Center for the Arts, Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey.
Joseph Morrissey, Director of Dance, Interlochen Center for the Arts: This is a huge production that, of course, involves the dancers. But we also have some theater students, a large production crew, and of course, the costume and technical teams as well, working behind the scenes to make all of this magic come alive. The set pieces for Cinderella are custom-made, including a magic mirror, a staircase where Cinderella descends upon the ball and, of course, a spectacular pumpkin carriage.
Matthew, “Prince Charming”, Dancer, Interlochen Arts Academy: Coming here and witnessing, you know, the spotlights and the sound and the tech and the carriage and the backdrops and the costumes. It really just makes you feel like Prince Charming.
Kate, “Cinderella”, Dancer, Interlochen Arts Academy: The dress for the balls, honestly, probably my favorite part because I actually feel like a princess. It’s so magical. And it just helps me, like, get into the character, which, like, also helps translate to the dancing. Everything. Honestly, it’s really, really magical and it feels like I’m in a fairy tale, like the whole time.
Jayla, “Stepsister”, Dancer, Interlochen Arts Academy: I really like the garden scene. I think it’s really pretty. I love all the costumes and the dances, like the Four Seasons. I just think they’re so pretty and like my solo in the ballroom scene. It’s very it’s very goofy, it’s very silly. It’s very obnoxious along with my costume. So I really like that part too.
Bryce Huffman: Interlochen reached out to Ukrainian seamstress and costumer Galina Krasovskya for some of the dancer’s eye-catching ensembles.
Amanda Lifvendahl, Costume Shop Supervisor, Interlochen Arts Academy: The costumes that we are seeing from the Ukraine include Cinderella’s ball gown and a wonderful cape that coordinates with it. The Fairy Godmother’s transformation dress. And then all of the season fairies. So spring, summer, autumn and winter and their corresponding male cavalier dancers.
Bryce Huffman: For Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey, this year’s production has presented opportunities to try different ways to tell the classic story.
Joseph Morrissey: I can imagine at times it’s challenging because every day I come in with a new idea or I’ll change an idea that I had the day before. So it’s very important for dancers to be open-minded and ready to receive, knowing that it’s all in the best interest to showcase them in their best light.
Leah, “Fairy Godmother”, Dancer, Interlochen Arts Academy: I really enjoy the instructors here at Interlochen because they really focus on pushing the dancers. Like me, for instance. I’ve never gotten a super big lead role in a ballet before this year, actually. And then I got Clare in Dew Drop and now Fairy Godmother, which I’m just so grateful, and I just didn’t think it would happen to me. But they made it happen and they pushed me to do it. And they obviously taught me a lot.
Bryce Huffman: And the gratitude of the dancers truly shines on stage.
Matthew, “Prince Charming”: I love dance. I love these story ballets. I love being able to reach out to an audience and touch them with my art form. And on top of that, I just love the interdisciplinary connection that we have here at Interlochen with all these different aspects of the theater coming together to make the ballet work. That has definitely been something that I have fallen in love with over the past three years.
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