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Dancers Imbue 'Cinderella' With Warm Sense of Reality

January 24, 1998|CHRIS PASLES

A new Cinderella and Prince on Thursday lifted the characters out of the comic-strip frame of the National Ballet of Cuba's "Cinderella" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa to give us a sense of real people.

Galina Alvarez brought inner strength, reserve and dignity to the title role and projected the sweetness of first love at finding her prince. A lyrical dancer, Alvarez managed to convey a sense of airiness and grace despite the inflexible taped accompaniment.

As the Prince, Victor Gili, who had been the dancing master opening night, traversed a "Swan Lake"-like metamorphosis from bored royal functionary to enchanted, devoted lover.

The attraction between the two was warm and credible.

The magic unfortunately dissipated in the classical demands of Act 2, where the two were clearly working harder at the partnership.

Alvarez fell short in the bravura challenges, executing a simplified fouette sequence without embellishing it with double turns, as had her predecessors in the role.

Though gifted with firepower, Gili often demonstrated more energy than finesse and chopped up his variation into sections.

The rest of the Thursday cast has been previously reviewed. Nelson Madrigal repeated his superb performance as the dancing master.

* National Ballet of Cuba concludes its "Cinderella" engagement today at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. $10-$60. (714) 556-2787.

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