Guest artists from Cincinnati Ballet included Tricia Sundbeck as Cinderella and Jay Goodlett as the Prince. Individually they were excellent. Together they were better still.
Ever-graceful, Sundbeck brought to her role a level of acting that matched her skill as a dancer. Gossamer-gentle as the poor cinder girl of the first act, she soared in the pas de deux of the second act ballroom scene where she worked so effectively with Goodlett.
Goodlett, of course, is well known to Toledo audiences for his regular appearances in The Nutcracker. There he has used his athleticism and breathtaking leaping ability to great advantage. That strength was in play last night as well.
But fine as the two were as individuals, it was in the partner work as they danced together in the second act that the magic occurred. Goodlett revealed a new and richer side of his personality as he became the enabler for Sundbeck's willow-wisp fluidity. The result was often heart-rending.
The rest of the solo roles were strong as well.
Anne Marie Getz danced the role of the Fairy Godmother with easy yet courtly confidence.
As is the tradition, the roles of the stepsisters were played by men. Richard Helldobler and Wayde Winter danced with high spirit but sometimes lacked the physical timing needed.
Brian Slaman, a senior at Toledo School for the Arts, combined dance and gymnastic skills to give a strong account of the Jester.
Mark Woten was nimble of foot as the neurotic wigmaker.
Moving to choreography created by Toledo Ballet artistic director Nigel Burgoine, the company dancers were effective as well. Burgoine continues to find ways to challenge his corps de ballet and they invariably rise to his standards.
Scenery from Cincinnati Ballet was a bit dreary and also seemed a bit crowded on the stage. Indeed, this viewer had the sense that the dancers would have enjoyed more room than the Valentine offered.
The performance will be repeated today at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the Valentine Theatre. Information: 419-242-2787.
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