Director’s Notes: Cinderella

If you think ballet is for someone else, like those stepsisters, think again … ballet is for you, your friends, and your family.

A starry-eyed young woman dreams of access to an exclusive event but is told in no uncertain terms that access is denied. Gatekeepers make sure the young hopeful is not allowed to attend. Poverty, birth, and profession are all invoked as reasons, but prejudice, discrimination, and lack of basic decency are at the root of the rejection. Barriers are put in place. Invitation, inclusivity, and opportunity are denied.

Yes, I’m talking about Cinderella, but you have to admit it sounds like so many of the issues we face today.

The Cinderella story is timeless. Perhaps that’s why we see it through a fresh light with each new viewing. Though the Prince’s Ball might easily parallel a modern-day restricted-access affair and those jealous stepsisters and their meanie mom might be seen as petulant gatekeepers, we have to wonder where the current equivalent for the Fairy Godmother lies. Someone like that doesn’t just appear and yet her effect can be found in our lives and in those around us. Turns out she’s more of a blend of the many individuals who look out for their rights, and those of others. She’s out there and she’s probably in you, too.

In Kent Stowell’s wondrous production of Cinderella, our Fairy Godmother removes a lot of barriers by providing a last-minute killer dress (note to FGM: Consider Project Runway), shoes to die for (small sizes only), a classy ride, and a cloud of fairy dust. And like that, our heroine is on her way! The highly anticipated invitation-only event does not disappoint, with lavish costumes, delicious entertainment, innovative choreography, the most exquisite scenery, and a story that continues to inspire. Home by midnight and we’re good.

At PNB, we’re pretty committed to removing barriers as well. If you need an invitation to the ball, or a ticket to the ballet, we can help grant access to an eye-opening world of dance, tutus, tiaras, handsome princes, a 62-member orchestra, seat cushions, craft matinees, lectures, laughter, love, magic, and cookies. (Booze in sippy cups, too; 21 and up only.) We work diligently to offer all of this at the lowest prices possible. Sign up for PNB emails at for some of our best deals. $99 three-pack subscriptions are a steal of a deal (check out our subscriber perks). TeenTix are $5, Student Matinees offer tickets from $5, and 1,500 children and adults were able to experience George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® for free. It’s not just prices that create barriers.

At PNB, we’re committed to offering dance to our community, including in-school residencies and workshops with 34 Seattle-area public schools, open classes for people of all ages and abilities, weekly classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease, live-captioned performances and lectures, large-font programs, and a safe and welcoming place for people of all ages, incomes, orientations, and ethnicities. Our doors are open for you. Come on in, have a ball.

So if you think ballet is for someone else, like those stepsisters, think again. Sure, they’re still invited, but we want you to know ballet is for you, your friends, and your family. And when you enter McCaw Hall (for a price that’s comfortable), you feel like a princess or a prince, or better yet, like yourself. Whether you see yourself as a Grace Kelly, Meghan Markle, Charlotte, Masako, Angeline, Jasmine, Tiana, Ariel, Cinderella, or anyone who might want to meet a prince, you’re in—as in invited.
And the best part? We’ll have you home by midnight.

Peter Boal

Join us for Kent Stowell’s Cinderella at McCaw Hall from January 31-February 9, 2020.

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