The Lost Shoe retains only a few rudiments of Mr. Perrault’s tale. Here, the characters are driven by profoundly different motivations. You’re more likely to lose your footing than your slipper as the path to true love for the beauty and her prince proves infinitely more tortuous than in the original story. The choreographer is a keen observer of society and draws vital inspiration from tradition, using the fairy tale to investigate contemporary values and plunge the audience into a world where the modernity of human relations is at stake.
Stijn Celis plumbs depths far beyond the tale so familiar to Western cultures. Our heroine lives in a dysfunctional family, adrift in a contemporary world gone awry, represented by misshapen props strewn on the ground like so much flotsam. Inspired by the Prokofiev score – fertile ground if there ever was one for this choreographer – the work is built around connections between reality and dream states, between feminine and masculine, with qualities inherent in each reappropriated as expressions of profound paradoxes and feelings.
The gestures, as well as the physical attitudes and costume detailing, echo this. Guided by the memory of her late mother, Cinderella is a forsaken young woman who aspires to love. The roles of the wicked stepmother and mercurial stepsisters are comically danced by men, the fairy godmother has become a ghost-mother and the prince is held captive by the social conventions of his class. Over and above its love story, Cinderella examines the inner transfiguration of its characters in a world searching for meaning, and celebrates the triumph of authenticity over the superficial.