For Charlottesville Ballet, teaming up with Southwest Virginia Ballet for this weekend’s performances of "Cinderella" has offered a feeling of enchantment in numbers.
There will be timeless music by Sergei Prokofiev, complex choreography by Southwest Virginia Ballet’s Pedro Szalay, luminous dancing by Yui Kaito of Japan and a story of dreams come true that resonates with performers and audience members happy to reunite after the pandemic.
"Happily ever after is a welcome thing right now," said Emily Hartka, artistic director of Charlottesville Ballet. "All cultures have a Cinderella story of hope and kindness despite adversity."
Performances are planned for 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Paramount Theater, with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Ball for children taking place soon after the morning show.
Bringing students from Charlottesville Ballet and Southwest Virginia Ballet together offers not only the excitement of dancing with a larger cast, but also the enrichment of working with the companies’ professional dancers, Hartka said.
Kaito "is just stunning," Hartka said. "It’s a beautiful performance.
"It is so valuable for the students to have this opportunity. It’s really good for our students to learn how to learn things quickly. All of these students love ballet, and they learn from each other."
If you’re expecting something stuffy, don’t. There’s plenty of humor behind all the shimmer. "The stepsisters and stepmother are hysterical," Hartka said.
Expect eye-catching sets and costumes. Presenting a boundless story on the Paramount’s intimate stage drew on the resourcefulness of the ballet’s staff members and volunteers alike. When the fireplace set piece built for Southwest Virginia Ballet proved to be too big for the space, volunteer Paul Davis created a new one with a just-right fit, Hartka said.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Ball, designed for girls and boys ages 3 to 8, gives young fans a chance to meet the dancers, get their photos taken with cast members and learn a few ballet steps to the familiar Prokofiev melodies from Kaito and other world-class dancers. Children are encouraged to wear formal attire or Sunday best; princess tiaras are definitely welcome.
Hartka said it’s common for children who sign up for ballet classes to say they caught the ballet bug at an event like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Ball, or that they were inspired to join a production of "The Nutcracker" after attending Charlottesville Ballet’s Class with Clara event.
While the youngsters are learning from the dancers, their favorite grownups ages 21 and older can sip some magical theme cocktails.
VIP tickets also include admission to the Season Wrap Party after the afternoon performance, which offers audience members a chance to congratulate the dancers on a successful finale to the ballet company’s 15th anniversary. Two dancers who will retire after Saturday’s performances — Kate Arnson and Derek Lauer, who have danced with the company for six seasons — will be honored.
Hors d’oeuvres and DuCard Vineyards wines will be served. The party is included in all VIP ticket purchases.
VIP tickets for the ballet and Bibbidi Bobbidi Ball are $75 for adults and $70 for children. Other tickets are $45 or $40 for youths, seniors, students and military members, or $25 and $20, respectively. Babies get in for free. All children must be accompanied by adults.
For tickets and details, go to theparamount.net or call (434) 979-1333.