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Chicago’s A&A Ballet presents family favorite ‘Cinderella’

Photo courtesy of A&A Ballet.
Photo courtesy of A&A Ballet.

The family favorite ballet, Cinderella, done only as A&A Ballet can, returns to the Chicago stage for the first time in six years, on May 18. This unique performance and take on the fairy tale is colorful, bright and fun, and features Asian American Tatiana Chen (Naperville) as Cinderella, and welcomes A&A Ballet and Joffrey Ballet veteran Amber Neumann back as Stepmother. The pair are supported by a diverse, international cast.

The Cinderella we know and love can be traced to the French story Cendrillon, first published in 1697 by Charles Perrault, although Chinese and Greek versions of this classic tale go back to the ninth century CE and sixth century BCE, respectively.

The story revolves around a beautiful young girl who is mistreated by her cruel stepmother and jealous stepsisters who nickname her Cinderella. With the aid of animal friends and the enchantments of a fairy godmother, Cinderella is able to attend a royal ball, where she has until the final stroke of midnight to win the heart of Prince Charming.

In this fantastical rendition choreographed by Alexei Kremnev, A&A Ballet offers audiences a modern take on the classic story with vibrant costumes and characters and dynamic choreography. A&A Ballet performed Cinderella at Festival International Bravissimo taking place in Guatemala City at the Auditorium Juan Bautista Gutiérrez theater.

Photo courtesy of A&A Ballet.
Photo courtesy of A&A Ballet.

Performed in Chicago in 2012, by The Joffrey Academy, Kremnev’s fascinating Cinderella sold out to an exhilarated crowd. Kremnev, a Bolshoi trained dancer and former Founding Artistic Director of The Joffrey Academy and The Joffrey Studio Company, defines his choreography as “joyful and accessible” and adds that it is “a contrast to the dark seriousness that pervades so much of today’s ballet.”

Tatiana Chen (Cinderella), 16, of Naperville, was born in the U.S., but her father is from Fujian, China. She was the first Asian American to perform the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in the Art Deco Nutcracker in 2023. 

Jasper Keck, (Prince), 19, of Niles, MI, and 2024 Youth America Grand Prix NY Finalist will dance the role of Prince in Cinderella.

Amber Neumann (Stepmother), 33, a Niles, MI native and now Chicago resident, was a long-time student of A&A founders Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, and the first ever student of Joffrey Academy who became a professional dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. Neumann danced as Cinderella in the original performance in 2007. She returns for the 2024 performance as Stepmother in A&A Ballet’s modern rendition. She was a leading artist with the Joffrey between 2010-2016, and later worked in Germany as a dancer and a ballet mistress.

Supporting cast members hail from around the world. Multiple dancers are of various nationalities from Guatemala, Mexico, Belarus, Switzerland, Japan, China and Canada.

For tickets and more information, head to www.aacenterfordance.org.

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