Few things are more synonymous with ballet than grand fairy tales and stories of magic, mischief and love.
And few things are more synonymous with the Louisville Ballet than Alun Jones, who served the company as artistic director from 1978 until 2002 — a whopping 24 years — leading them straight through a period of time in America that saw a lot of ballet companies shutter.
This weekend, the Louisville Ballet welcomes Jones back to re-stage one of its most enduring classics, Jones’ version of “Cinderella.” He spoke with Insider by phone to share some thoughts on his visit.
“It’s been an interesting experience,” says Jones. “During my time, we did a lot of modern works, but the basis of the repertoire were the classics, which I always thought were very important.”
One of the features of classic ballets are the use of gestures to convey story and dialogue.
“Our production is based on the old English, traditional pantomime,” says Jones.
Another classic element that Louisville Ballet fans might remember concerns the Ugly Step Sisters.
“The stepsisters are guys, which is a very English tradition. The evil characters were always played by men in drag,” he explains.
Jones is very familiar with that drag, and in fact, he is familiar with all the costumes, down to their seams and stitching.
“Before I became a dancer, I went to college and got a degree in design … so often here, when we were doing a new work, the budget would be very restrictive. So they got me on the cheap.”
Jones may have been working with a restrictive budget, but it didn’t keep him from building things to last.
“Some of the costumes have been refurbished, but most of them have been in pretty good shape, and some of them — if you can believe such a thing — are 40 years old,” he says.
You can see those timeless costumes and choreography telling the classic tale of a beautiful but over-worked girl, and the magic that helps her find her Prince Charming, when “Cinderella” steps onto the stage at the Kentucky Center for the Arts this weekend only. Performances on Friday, April 5, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 6, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35.50.