James Kudelka

James Kudelka


James Kudelka’s Cinderella balances tradition with modernity in a unique rendering of the story that discards the rags-to-riches scenario to put Cinderella on equal footing with Prince Charming, both confined by their respective circumstances and in search of a simpler life. The forces against them are real but hilarious, from Cinderella’s inebriated stepmother to her blundering stepsisters and their shameless flatterers. With its colourful characters, Art Deco-inspired designs by David Boechler, lively score by Sergei Prokofiev and lighting by Christopher Dennis, Kudelka’s Cinderella is an unrivaled adaptation of the classic fairy tale. 

Cinderella Trailer
The Story

Cinderella lives with an indifferent stepmother and vain stepsisters who force her to keep house though she would rather be in the garden. One evening, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother magically whisks her away to Prince Charming’s ball, provided she returns home by midnight. The Prince, who seeks only a quiet life, reluctantly attends the ball where he falls in love on meeting Cinderella. As the clock strikes 12, Cinderella flees, leaving behind a single glass slipper which the Prince must use to find her.

Read Synopsis

Five Things to Know
  1. 1Kudelka exchanges the familiar story of a young girl rescued by a man of great wealth for one that focuses on an equal partnership. Throughout the ballet, money and fame are held in opposition to emotion and nature.
  2. 2Kudelka is one of few choreographers to use nearly all of Prokofiev’s 1945 score, including the travelling scene of Act III, in which the Prince searches the world for the owner of the glass slipper.
  3. 3The score is incredibly layered and varied, from the menacing Grand Waltz in Act II that foreshadows the arrival of midnight to the comic relief provided by the Stepmother and Stepsisters throughout.
  4. 4Canadian designer David Boechler created the sets and costumes with nods to the art and fashion of the 1920s and 30s, using geometric patterns, chic flapper dresses, high-waisted trousers and plenty of eclectic shoes.
  5. 5The National Ballet of Canada performed the very first production of Cinderella in North America, Celia Franca’s staging, at Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre on April 15, 1968. Norman Campbell’s film of the production for CBC television received an Emmy Award in 1970.
Watch and Explore

Ballet Moments: Cinderella

Hope Muir on Cinderella

Cinderella Teaser

Cinderella's Entrance

Cinderella View Gallery

The Choreographer

James Kudelka served as Resident Choreographer of The National Ballet of Canada following his nine years as Artistic Director. He creates works of incredible musicality and vision for companies internationally, from original full-length ballets to short contemporary works and remounted classics. Kudelka was Resident Choreographer of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie from 2008 to 2020.

The Composer

Sergei Prokofiev was one of the major composers of the 20th century, known and celebrated for his symphonies, operas, piano sonatas and ballets, notably Romeo and Juliet and Peter and the Wolf.


“National Ballet of Canada’s Cinderella is embodiment of the heart’s desire… Kudelka’s reading of the time-honoured rags-to-riches fairy tale is unconventional” – Toronto Star 

“A divine pairing of music and dance… James Kudelka’s production of Cinderella is a masterpiece... the finest Cinderella in the world, bar none.” – The Globe and Mail  

“James Kudelka’s Cinderella fits the National Ballet of Canada exactly the way the glass slipper fits the central character’s foot: perfectly.” – National Post

Running Time

  • Act I 35m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act II 40m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 35m
  • Total (approx) 2h 30m


James Kudelka, O.C.

Sergei Prokofiev

Set, Costume and Properties Design:
David Boechler

Lighting Design:
Christopher Dennis

World Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts (now Meridian Hall), Toronto, May 8, 2004

Cinderella is a gift from The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada.

For Celia, with my deepest gratitude. JK

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following:

Running Time

  • Act I 35m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act II 40m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 35m
  • Total (approx) 2h 30m

Email Newsletter

Be the first to know when casting is announced by signing up for Ballet News.

Sign Up Today

Delve Deeper

Visit our News Hub for a more in-depth look at all of our productions.

Visit News Hub

Ballet Talks

The National Ballet invites you to attend the Ballet Talk 45 minutes before every performance in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.