Clair Hall was the venue in July 2009 for a magical production of Cinderella told through ballet. A cast of 140 girls and boys from Turning Pointe School of Dance captivated their audience with performances of an astonishingly high standard. Sometimes moving, sometimes hilariously funny, everything was done with exquisite poise and elegance.

Shirley-Anne Rabe was a deeply touching Cinderella, much put upon by her spiteful sisters (performed with tremendous character and comic timing by Lucy Fyles and Laura Windsor) and sorely neglected by her delightfully wicked stepmother (Emilie Large). The contrast of the comic spite of her siblings and Cinderella’s poignant solos worked wonderfully, tugging the emotions in different directions from one scene to the next.

Robert Sutherland made a suitably dashing Prince, partnering not just Cinderella in some memorable duets, but being on hand to lift all the ladies in a very accomplished Ball scene. Led by Midnight (Kitty Horne), the festivities were interrupted by the dance of the Hours, a chilling moment of great dramatic tension. Rebecca Hersey, as an ethereal Fairy Godmother, conjured up a host of fairies in some beautiful scenes that evoked the magic of a child’s first encounter with fairytales. There were cute mice that transformed into prancing horses, exotic lizards that turned into coachmen and a host of princesses, jesters, birds and animals. This was picture book stuff, but as if read for the very first time.

The production was testimony to the imagination and vision of sisters Julia Canneaux and Amanda Fyles, who designed, directed and choreographed. The stunning costumes, which would not have looked out of place on the stage of the Royal Opera House, were all made by Amanda Fyles. I have seen plenty of performances on that stage and often been less entranced than I was by this show. Julia Canneaux said, after the last performance, that she wanted to allow the children to dream. It was perhaps that quality, obvious in the wide-eyed delight on the faces of all the dancers, that lingers long after the final curtain.

Taken from a review in the Mid-Sussex Times

Photography during rehearsal by Kevin Ellis