Cinderella, a centuries-old fairy tale, is now added to Les Grands Ballets’ repertoire through a sublime ballet on pointes choreographed by Jayne Smeulders. Although the choreography was created back in 2011, the dancers will be dressed in shimmering new costumes for this new version true to Les Grands Ballets’ unique style.
When she created the ballet Cinderella for the West Australian Ballet in 2011, choreographer Jayne Smeulders set the tale in the 1930s. Costumes and sets reflected this artistic direction.
By adding this ballet to Les Grands Ballets’ repertoire, artistic director Ivan Cavallari wished to give it a more timeless style to this must-see classic. New sets and costumes had to then be designed. Furthermore, Jayne added several new roles to the choreography, tailor-made for the company’s dancers.
Ivan Cavallari has called upon the talents of Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt to design the costumes. A renowned artist in the fields of cinema, circus and theatre, her aesthetics echo haute couture, instilling modernity to this ancient tale.
Having received a training in fashion, Marie-Chantale has met the challenge of proposing costumes adapted to the needs of ballet and the dancers’ physique, while bringing inspiration from the fashion world, famous designers and new trends.
The theme, inspired by bird wings, is underlined through the different costumes, thanks to accessories and pleated fabric, as a nod to the three magic birds Hope, Faith and Charity that appear to guide Cinderella to the magic garden where she finds her beautiful ball dress. The birds are indeed an important aspect of the ballet in Jayne Smeulders’ version, inspired by The Brothers Grimm’s tale.
The style of costumes follows a timeless line while remaining contemporary and plays with the characters’ personalities.
Thus, Cinderella’s costumes in ranges of colours from grey to white and gold, reflect elegant, ethereal and luminous. The young woman wears four different dresses throughout the ballet: a little girl dress while flashbacks, her ash-coloured everyday attire, the ball dress with golden touches worn with a cape, and finally the dress for the pas de deux with the prince, simple and light.
The centerpiece of Cinderella’s wardrobe is the ball dress, requiring the work of five persons from the Costumes’ Workshop and the intervention of a Montreal craftsman specializing in pleating techniques.
The dancers in the main role will also wear glistening pointes as slippers. Other accessories will complete the costume, such as golden birds in the hair, and a mask for the ball.
For Cinderella’s family, Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt preferred to use vibrant colors. Her stepsisters and her stepmother are characters who like to be noticed! In stark contrast, Cinderella’s father wears a simple and elegant costume.
The ballet is full of fantastic characters, especially when three magical birds bring Cinderella in a magic garden thanks to The Fairy Godmother. Nymphs and unicorn appear: colorful and whimsical, they are represented in a stylish and slender fashion, with pure and simple attires. The Fairy Godmother’s costume is inspired by the sets, using mirrors and reflective materials.
Once the artworks were approved, the making of the costumes has been put in the expert hands of the Costumes’ Workshop seamstresses, from prototypes to final models. Up to 94 costumes have been conceived and produced for the different casts of the show.
25 000 hours of work have been necessary to the 50 craftsperson in the workshop. They combined creativity, expertise and meticulousness to make costumes able to resist the athletic performances of the dancers on stage, adapt to the fluidity of their movements, attract the light on stage and above all stay safe to avoid any injuries.
The dancers look forward to wearing those sublime costumes on stage and bring Cinderella to life!