During the creation of Cinderella in 2010, we posted a selection of videos showing the work that goes into bringing such a major new production to the stage, as well as sneak previews of the ballet.
With the show back on stage at Birmingham Hippodrome next week, we’ve looked back at some of our favourite individual moments from these videos, some of which you may have missed the first time around!
1. Tiny cardboard dancers
One of David’s first Cinderella video diaries provided an insight not just into the forthcoming production, but into the process of creating all full-length ballets.
Featuring Designer John Macfarlane’s exquisite 1/25 scale model of the set, the video allowed us to see what Cinderella’s kitchen looked like in Act I. However a cutaway shot revealed a fantastic cluster of additional figures, cut from cardboard, hinting at more heavily-populated scenes at the Prince’s ball. At this early stage, they were an exciting extra glimpse of things to come, even if the characters were dwarfed by a mug of tea…
Skip to 00:37 to see the figures.
2. We accidentally film David accidentally filming us
Some moments of footage we planned, and some we captured by accident.
Back in the summer of 2010, we accompanied David to one of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s warehouses, to see parts of Cinderella’s kitchen for the first time. David would later be recording a video diary explaining the intricacies of the set, so we wanted to capture some appropriate footage of it. With David also recording his own reference materials on his smartphone, we were keen to remain in the background.
Skip to 01:17, however, when we pan around the set only to find ourselves standing face-to-face with David, doing exactly the same thing…
3. John Macfarlane’s shoes
John Macfarlane proved a fantastic host when we joined him at the Royal Opera House workshops to see him working on the full-sized cloths for Cinderella. Covered in paint, he explained how they were used in layers to filter different levels of light to give the impression of a night sky.
The scale of the work that John was undertaking to paint those cloths by hand was remarkable, and over the morning he had become speckled in thousands of drops of blue and purple paint. While his hands were the most heavily covered, we loved his flecked footwear!
Skip to 01:00 to see John’s shoes:
4. MOUSE CAM!
This video diary was recorded just a few days before the premiere. David reports on a weekend of rehearsals that had gone from bad (“catastrophic is a good word”) to good (“I wrote a list out this morning of things that were worrying me and it was… not too long!”).
But the highlight for us is near the end, after he explains that he’s now off to try on animal heads. Reports have reached him that those playing the frogs and mice and lizards, that are transformed into Cinderella’s entourage for the ball, are having trouble seeing through their masks.
Skip to 01:41 to see for yourself, when the camera shoots from inside a Mouse’s head:
5. A montage of unseen material
We wondered if David would have the energy to record his thoughts the morning after the premiere, or if the workload that led up to that point would leave him in need of a lie-in. But the following day he was back, with camera in hand, and the relief that it had all come together was visible on his face.
Another highlight, however, was the selection of bonus shots of the production process that crept up throughout the video. Included in a montage of clips shown halfway through were the stunning modelbox of the Prince’s ballroom, sun-drenched studios full of waltzing dancers and footage of Marion Tait in rehearsals that David himself had shot on his iphone.
Skip to 01:01 to see for yourself:
Cinderella returns to Birmingham Hippodrome, 21 November-9 December 2012. Click here to book your seats now.