From left, dancers Sasha Podshivalova and Grace Cho with Classical Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Alisher Saburov.
Photograph by Miho Sato
Herndon The Classical Ballet Theatre will present their spin on the classic fairy tale “Cinderella” starting Saturday, April 13. The not-for-profit dance studio will also host several free outreach performances. The lead role will be played by both Grace Cho and Sasha Podshivalova at different performances.
The two said they have enjoyed working together on the same role.
“It’s been fun to work together, it’s not so lonely when you’ve got someone to interact with through rehearsals,” Podshivalova said. “And when instructors give one of us corrections, it’s things we can both incorporate in our next performance.:
Cho said it has been an inspiration to watch a dancer as advanced as Podshivalova throughout the process.
“We’ve gotten ideas from each other, which helps because we’re both different dancers,” she said. “We have different styles, different physiques and different mentalities when we approach performances. Our techniques are the same, but the artistry is different.”
Cho said the feminine, gentle dancing of Cinderella is different than her normal style.
“I’ve always had a hard time with the feminine side of dancing, I think I’m more of a strong, sharp dancer,” she said. “This role has definitely helped me dance with more of a softness.”
The Disney version of “Cinderella” is one of Podshivalova’s favorites musically, so she was looking forward to the role.
“She’s a dynamic character, there’s a lot of emotions involved in the performance,” Cho said. “She’s an abused child, she has dreams, she falls in love, it’s all there. While I don’t have personal experience of what she goes through, it was a good experiences exploring how to express it all onstage.”
Podshivalova said it was fun working with so many friends as part of the cast, especially when Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters abuse her.
“It was fun because we all spend a lot of time together, so we all feel like a family, and then they get to treat us terribly onstage,” she said. “We all got a big kick out of it.”
Cho spent last summer at the Miami City Ballet, and she’ll be heading back to Florida this summer for an intensive program at the Orlando Ballet.
“This summer in Orlando I’m hoping to get [to] pick up advanced techniques and learn how to do things like avoid injuries and grow artistically,” she said.
Cho has a full scholarship to the Orlando Ballet this summer. She also recently competed in the Youth America Grand Prix in Hartford, Conn., earning a top 12 ranking in classical and contemporary dance.
Podshivalova will be taking classes at the Classical Ballet Theatre this summer, and will be attending a marine biology program for two weeks as well. In college she hopes to study marine biology or architecture.
“Dancing has helped me learn the importance of perseverance, doing the same steps over and over again and knowing it might seem impossible at first, it can be done,” she said.