Publication Date

April 2016


Patricia Beaman




English (United States)


This thesis examines how narrative is portrayed through ballet by juxtaposing Frederick Ashton's traditional and comedic version of Cinderella (1948), Rudolf Nureyev's exploration of the separation between dreams and reality in his glamorous Cinderella Goes to Hollywood (1986), and Maguy Marin's critical and disturbing view of childhood in her Cendrillon (1985). These choreographers intertwine the story and themes with the choreography, making use of expression, acting, pantomime, and technique to best portray their individual narratives. In my first chapter I discuss the history of the fairytale Cinderella and how it has developed over hundreds of years, utilizing analysis from fairytale scholars such as Jack Zipes. My second chapter looks at the development of story ballets, citing theories of Jean George Noverre, and examining classic ballets by artists such as Marius Petipa. In my third chapter I examine the styles and backgrounds of Ashton, Nureyev, and Marin, analyzing how their histories affected their respective ballets. The fourth chapter juxtaposes three different scenes in the ballets, offering critical analysis and discussion on the use of choreography and style to portray the differing narrative themes and plots. In my final chapter I discuss my own exploration of the use of choreography to convey narrative for familiar fairytales. With the culmination of my work, I hope to show the success and failures of Ashton, Nureyev, and Marin in portraying their Cinderella ballets, and how choreographic style is an invaluable tool to storytelling.



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