In Cinderella, the hardships that the heroine endures are what give the ending its power, as she escapes the isolation of the squalid kitchen and the cruelty of the ‘wicked’ stepmother. Where some of David’s previous narrative ballets (such as Cyrano and Edward II) have seen a character rise and fall, Cinderella sees charts the protagonist’s steady rise as she rediscovers hope.
But in the world of ballet, happy endings (The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker) can seem outnumbered by tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake). Choreographically, is joy as interesting as grief or turmoil? David Bintley believes so.
‘I don’t think that joy is a permanent state,’ he says when we put the question to him. ‘It is something which is very, very brief. It’s in fleeting moments between everything else in life; our daily episodes of work, distraction, interest, fun, whatever. Contentment is more common, calmness or acceptance, yes; but joy to me is something that is above and beyond, it’s a crest of a moment, a climax. And it’s something that is probably more aspired to than achieved.’