A Profile of the Cinderella Ballet

The History of the Cinderella Ballet

Cinderella Ballet, Prokofiev
Maia Makhateli and Artur Shesterikov perform a scene from Cinderella during a dress rehearsal for the Russian Ballet Icons Gala at London Coliseum on March 8, 2015 in London, England. Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

The story of Cinderella can be found in many stories and legends dating back to ancient China. Today, some 1,500 variations of the story exist. But which version became the famous ballet?

Charles Perrault's Modern Cinderella

The version of Cinderella made popular by Walt Disney, and that we are most familiar with, serves as the base of the ballet. It was written by Charles Perrault. Cinderella, just like Perrault's other Disney-bound tale, The Sleeping Beauty, was one of eight stories in the book titled Histoires ou Contes du temps pass (Stories and Tales of the Past).

Cinderella, The Ballet

Originally, in 1870, the Bolshoi Theater requested Tchaikovsky to write the music for the ballet, but it never materialized. Many decades later, a composer by the name of Sergei Prokofiev took on the task of scoring the music for the ballet of Cinderella. He began his work in 1940, but put it on hold during World War II to write the opera War and Peace.

Modern Cinderella

In 1944, Prokofiev picked up work on Cinderella and finished the score a year later. Since then, there have been a number of men to stage Cinderella to Prokofiev’s score, most notably Fredrick Ashton, the first person to stage a full-length production using Prokofiev’s music in the West, and Ben Stevenson whose production remains the most popular in the United States since its premiere in 1970.

The Synopsis of Cinderella