After 15 years in business, State Street Ballet (SSB) has learned a few things. One of them is the value of flexibility-and we don’t just mean the kind that allows their dancers to bend and stretch. When recent budget issues dictated a change of programming, Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson decided to swap The Jungle Book, which was to premiere this month, with the fall’s planned offering of Cinderella.
After its Santa Barbara premiere in 2005, SSB’s Cinderella went on to a highly successful tour of the East Coast, and this fall the show will head to Colorado, Wyoming, and other points east. But first, Cinderella will waltz across the stage at the company’s new home theater, the Granada, this weekend.
“This venue is just perfect for it,” said Gustafson. “There’s a big difference in the way a production looks and feels in the Granada just because of the design of the theater.”
One feature of this production is heightened theatricality. The company will even be using digitally enhanced animation projected onto a scrim to augment the story and add some special effects. Comic relief will come with the use of two male company members dancing the roles of the stepsisters. A man in drag is a time-honored tradition in classical dance, after all.
“I like to move things along and focus on the characterizations,” Gustafson said. “I don’t want to keep the audience there for hours and hours. Like a good movie, it has the range of emotions. Cinderella is the classic underdog who people love to root for, and she gets her happy ending, with some humor thrown in.”
Look for some departures from tradition in SSB’s coming seasons. In addition to appearing in The Merry Widow with Opera Santa Barbara, SSB is working on a piece to go along with choral music by the Beatles and is collaborating with a Detroit dance company on a show called Motown in Motion. Bravo!
Catch Cinderella this Saturday, February 21, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 22, at 2 p.m. at the Granada (1214 State St.). For tickets, call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.