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Classic Fairytale Cinderella Takes the Stage at the Pioneer Center

Published March 22, 2024

Classic Fairytale Cinderella Takes the Stage at the Pioneer Center

by Steve Trounday

The second weekend of April, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and the Reno Phil will be presenting their new production of Cinderella at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. This classic fairytale is filled with mesmerizing dance, romance, and comedy. It will be fun for the entire family. 


The Cinderella ballet was composed by Sergei Prokofiev in the 1940s and it is considered one of his most popular works. The original choreography for the ballet was created in 1948 by Frederick Ashton, a British dancer and choreographer. Alexander Van Alstyne, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s artistic director, has restaged and rechoreographed the ballet, incorporating his variations on Ashton’s ballet. “The story is the same,” Van Alstyne said. “The dancing is different.”

Cinderella is the captivating story of the hopes of a lowly daughter, dressed in rags, who is forced to act as a servant in her own home. Her stepsisters are mean and self-centered. Cinderella helps her stepsisters prepare for the Spring Ball, where it is rumored that the Prince will be selecting a bride. As they prepare for the gala, a beggar woman turns up, asking for shelter. The sisters try to chase her off, but Cinderella offers her a place by the kitchen fireplace and an old pair of slippers. The beggar thanks her for her kindness and departs. After the stepsisters choose their dresses and conduct awkward dancing lessons, they set off for the ball leaving Cinderella behind.

Cinderella is lonely but dances with a broom, imagining it is the Prince. She is surprised when the beggar woman is at the door, wishing to return the slippers and again thanking her for her generosity. To Cinderella's amazement, the shoes have been transformed into glass slippers. The beggar woman takes off her disguise and reveals herself as Cinderella's fairy godmother and will be granting her wish to attend the ball. The fairy godmother summons the fairies of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter to help her transform Cinderella's rags into a beautiful dress, a pumpkin and mice into a carriage and horses, and frogs and lizards into footmen. Before she leaves, the fairy godmother warns Cinderella that the magic will only last until midnight, at which time the spell will break, and everything will return to its original form. Only the glass slippers will remain as a gift for her thoughtfulness.

Cinderella and Fairy Godmother

At the Spring Ball, the two stepsisters attempt to impress the royal court by showing off their dancing skills, poor as they are. The Prince is bored with the affair and refuses to dance with the obnoxious stepsisters. Cinderella arrives at the gala and the Prince is entranced by her beauty and charm, and he asks for a dance. They dance the night away in blissful blossoming love.

Overtaken by happiness, Cinderella has completely forgotten about the time. At the first stroke of midnight, she remembers her fairy godmother’s warning. Panicky, she flees from the ballroom. The Prince chases after her but she vanishes moments before the spell breaks, losing one of her glass slippers in her haste to escape. The Prince is heartbroken but upon finding the lost slipper, he vows not to rest until he finds her.

The Prince is frantic to find his new love. He travels the world looking for the mysterious woman from the gala. The Prince begins to search his own kingdom, trying the slipper on every maiden who attended the ball. The stepsisters hear that the Prince will be coming to their home and are very excited. Upon his arrival, he tries the slipper on the two women, but it doesn’t fit. The stepsisters order Cinderella to help them try to squeeze the slipper on their feet. As she assists them, the other slipper falls from her pocket. The Prince recognizes Cinderella for who she is and successfully tries on both glass slippers. Delighted they have found each other, Cinderella and the Prince are transported to a secret garden by the fairy godmother, where they confess their love for one another, and of course, live happily ever after.

Cinderella and Carriage

The part of Cinderella is being performed by Marize Fumero. Fumero is no stranger to Reno ballet audiences as she has danced in A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s rock ballet Vortex and in the classic Coppélia. Fumero was born in Havana and trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba. Upon graduation in 2009, she entered Ballet Nacional de Cuba where she performed many roles. In 2012, Fumero joined the English National Ballet where she danced as Aurora’s Friends and Jewel’s variation in Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty. She also appeared in Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, George Williamson’s Firebird as well as Derek Deane’s Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet at the Royal Albert Hall. Fumero joined Milwaukee Ballet in 2014 and was promoted to leading artist in 2015. Fumero received a Miami Life Award nomination as Best Female Classical Dancer in 2017.

The role of the Prince is being danced by Marko Micov. Micov was born in Skopje, Macedonia and began his ballet training under the direction of Sonja Zdrakova-Dezparovski, Ph.D. at the school of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet where he was a member of the corps de ballet. Marko received a full scholarship from the Academy of Mystic Ballet in Connecticut and moved to the United States to continue his training and career. 

Cinderella: Flying Inez

In 2012 he received an invitation from the legendary Gelsey Kirkland to join her company in New York City. In 64 years of Macedonian ballet history, he is the first dancer from his country to begin a professional career in the United States of America. The spring of 2016, he joined the Ballet San Antonio where he made his debut with the company in Ballet Alive and Micov was named by artistic director Willy Shives to perform the lead male in Ballet San Antonio’s premier of Frederik Franklin’s Tribute. Micov joined Milwaukee Ballet Company for the 2019/20 Season and continues to dance with the company. Joining Fumero and Micov on stage for Cinderella will be the large cast of dancers from A.V.A. Ballet Theatre. These dancers are the best in Reno and come from dance studios throughout the region.

The Reno Phil will be performing the score to this beautiful ballet with Laura Jackson as the conductor. The Prokofiev music alone is worth the ticket price. I’ve said this many times over the years; once you’ve seen and heard a ballet performance with a live orchestra there is really no comparison to one with a recording. There is something special when you see and hear two performing arts groups working together to entertain an audience.  

Steve Trounday is a board member at A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, the resident ballet company of the Pioneer Center. A.V.A. Ballet Theatre will be performing Cinderella April 13th and 14th at the Pioneer Center with the Reno Phil.

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