The classic tale of Cinderella is getting a modern twist in the latest production from Twin Cities Ballet.
Set in Great Britain during World War II, “Cinderella 1944: A Love Story” is brimming with historical flourishes – wartime newsreel footage, air raid sirens, sandbags, war posters and patriotic red, white and blue bunting.
The show, which plays the Burnsville Performing Arts Center’s main stage May 10-12, tells the Cinderella tale through dance and music, rather than words and song, and features a compilation of classical music edited together with sound effects.
“It’s an original story with thematic similarities to the original Cinderella story,” Twin Cities Ballet board member Rick Vogt said. In this version, Cinderella is orphaned and goes to live with her aunt and cousins in a country village. Instead of Prince Charming, though, she falls in love with a U.S. Army captain.
With a cast of about 100, the production features dancers drawn mainly from Ballet Royale Minnesota, the Lakeville dance studio run by Vogt and his wife Denise.
Denise Vogt, who wrote and choreographed “Cinderella,” did a good share of the historical research for the production on a trip to England, her home country, in the summer of 2011, interviewing family members and family friends about their wartime experiences.
Her family network was happy to oblige, offering up stories about food rationing, building bomb shelters and carrying gas masks. She also gathered information on some of the era’s more quotidian details – such as hairstyles and fashions – that proved instrumental in designing the show.
“We’ve done a lot of research on this – it’s taken us two years,” Denise Vogt said. “And whenever I have a question, I call my mum.”
“Cinderella” is the second ballet written by Denise Vogt for Twin Cities Ballet, formerly Lakeville City Ballet, which is known for its annual south-metro production of “The Nutcracker.”
The dance company’s first original production, “Wizard of Oz – The Ballet,” debuted in May 2012. The Vogts’ goal is to gradually build a repertoire of original story ballets that will rotate throughout the year.
Tickets for “Cinderella” range from $12 to $26 and are available at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center’s box office, and through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787 or Ticketmaster.com. Show times are 7 p.m. May 10, 2 and 7 p.m. May 11, and 2 p.m. May 12.