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A scene from Cinderella by the National Ballet of Canada

Bruce Zinger/Bruce Zinger

Cinderella has long been considered the Waterloo of choreographers. The reason is Prokofiev's music, which is so psychologically profound that any simple rendering of a fairy tale sits too lightly on the frame.

James Kudelka's 2004 version is a ballet with choreography that matches the richly layered score. Says National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain: "James's Cinderella is a great ballet. His take on the music is refreshing - both light-hearted and touching."

Kain reports that Kudelka has been in the studio coaching the dancers. Once notorious for never giving any details about roles and insisting that his choreography lead the dancers, Kudelka has now become more explicit.

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"He's talking about character and motivation," say Kain.

"He's giving a lot of information about moments that he wants to be appreciated. The constant tweaking keeps the ballet fresh."

Kudelka's choreography is considered very difficult for roles both big and small. When the National Ballet brings Kudelka's Cinderella back to the stage on Thursday (Nov. 11), there will be nine debuts. Click on the photo gallery to meet the dancers who will be performing their roles for the first time.

N.B. Some roles are performed by more than one dancer.

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