Talk about a Cinderella story …
Jennifer Curry started out as a student in the California Ballet School when she was 9 years-old. She worked her way up through the ranks, landing a position as soloist in the California Ballet Company in 1990. Ever since, the La Jolla resident has performed many plum roles in Cal Ballet productions, including the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” and Swanhilda in “Coppelia.”
This weekend (March 1 – 2), Curry will dance the title role in “Cinderella,” the full-length fairy tale ballet California Ballet is presenting at the Civic Theater. The troupe will dance four performances this weekend, with alternating Cinderellas. You can see Curry take on this coveted role at 8 p.m. Saturday and again at 1 p.m. on Sunday. (Cassandra Lund will dance Cinderella during the other two performances).
How does it feel to be Cinderella?
“This role is special,” Curry said. “It’s the first time we’ve done ‘Cinderella.’ It’s a challenge, because this is a three-act ballet. It’s also challenging because there’s a lot of partnering. But I love partnering, and I love the music of Prokofiev. The role requires a lot of emotion, because you’re telling a story. I’ve always loved the story. Every little girl loves Cinderella.”
Curry is a dancer first and foremost, but she’s also expanded her horizons to include stage acting, teaching, and choreography in recent years. She created danceworks for a summer outdoor festival in Texas as guest artist/choreographer between 1996-'98, and performed with Shakespeare on the Rocks Theater Company as well. Curry’s flair for dramatics earned her roles such as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” and Ariel in “The Tempest.”
“I dabbled in Shakespeare,” she noted. “Acting is something I see myself doing. Artistically, I grow every year, but it’s getting more difficult for my body - and I know I can’t go on doing this forever. Acting can extend my career.”
She also contemplates clinical hypnotherapy and nutrition as career possibilities when her dancing days are over. Currently, Curry (whose formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCSD) is on the faculty of the California Ballet School. She also teaches at the Coronado School of the Arts, and holds down a job as assistant manager of the box office for the California Ballet Company.
The multi-talented young lady is married to another member of the Cal Ballet family - Adrian Gonzalez (production manager for the company).
This staging of “Cinderella” was choreographed by Eugene Ballet’s artistic director Toni Pimble. When Curry dances the title role, she will be partnered by guest artist Andrei Jouravlev. They will perform to the stunning music Prokofiev composed for a production at the Bolshoi Theater in 1945.
The California Ballet has elaborate sets and costumes to enhance the beauty of the popular fairy tale ballet - and Curry is excited about them too.
“We’ll have a big carriage (to take Cinderella to the ball),” she explained, “just like in the original ballet.”
You can also expect a little stage magic, as Cinderella is transformed by her fairy godmother into the beautiful princess. Look for a pair of 11-year-old twin girls from La Jolla in the ranks. Alexandra and Isabella Payday will perform as two of the gnomes who escort Cinderella through the enchanted forest to the prince’s castle.
Denise Dabrowski - prima ballerina of the company for years and current Regisseur for the California Ballet, is thrilled to be staging “Cinderella.”
“Toni Pimble’s choreography of ‘Cinderella’ is precise, imaginative, and extremely musical,” she said. “It is a joy to work with the California Ballet Company dancers on this lovely and magical ballet.”
You can order tickets for “Cinderella” at (858) 560-6741.