NORMAN — A choice between a classic, pared down, modern interpretation of a fantasy waltz and a more leisurely but sustained and enjoyable exercise in old-fashioned storytelling is being offered by the Oklahoma Festival Ballet.
The two numbers, one short and the other lasting the rest of the evening, were previewed Wednesday at the University of Oklahoma's Reynolds Performing Arts Center.
Austin Lintner and Danielle Richard were light, airy and athletic, yet romantic without overdoing it, in the “Valse-Fantaisie,” originally choreographed by George Balanchine to music by Mikhail Glinka.
Interacting beautifully and almost effortlessly with the white-clad principal man and woman dancers were Kayla Davey, Rose Reida, Kelsey Huggins and Zane Kenig, wearing pink tops and gauzy skirts.
Balancing romantic, dramatic, narrative and humorous elements nicely was “Cinderella,” choreographed by Mary Margaret Holt and Steve Brule to music by Sergei Prokofiev, with costumes by Lloyd Cracknell.
Nicole Reehorst was poignant, psychologically vulnerable and powerful when she needed to be as Cinderella, looking to a portrait of her dead father to rise above the abuse of her two stepsisters and stepmother.
Particularly touching were early scenes in which Reehorst, wearing a dress made from strips of fabric, turned the broom thrust upon her into a fantasy dance partner and her apron into a kind of cape.
Alexandra Niemeyer conveyed the jaundiced attitude of the stepmother, while Donn Edwards in pink and Brule in blue were just malicious and maladroit enough in their drag portrayal of the stepsisters.
But Melanie Jensen filled the most crucial role as a Crone, whose bent, cloaked figure is transformed into that of the Fairy Godmother, ushering Cinderella into a forest glade, after the kitchen fireplace parts.