The prince — played in this performance by dancer Sergio Diaz — is most evidently incorporated as a more relevant and less creepy character. He returns throughout the story attempting to save Snow White and becomes much less a stalking prince than a man deeply in love.
When Diaz and Virginie Caussin — who played Snow White — dance together, the passion rivals that of Romeo and Juliet, except that their adversity lies not in disapproval but in the prince’s inability to protect the woman he loves.
Suspense fills each of their scenes, despite a universal knowledge of the plot. Caussin appears weightless as Diaz woos her, saves her and mourns her death.
The pair fits together seamlessly and erotically — ways the story never allowed — because of the added element of dance.
For a generation more familiar with the Disney tale than the darker Grimm one, parts of the story come as welcome changes.
Snow White is returned to life not by “true love’s first kiss” — which occurs much earlier in this more adult ballet — but by the prince dislodging a bite of poison apple from Snow White’s throat in a fit of heartbroken fury.
Instead of a crow as the Disney film depicts, the evil queen is accompanied by two cats that lend more movement, comedy and character to the show.
The dwarves are still goofy miners. They show off a crowd-pleasing acrobatic feat choreographed on harnesses before meeting Snow White, and quickly become her closest companions.
At about two hours, the ballet only dragged with minutes-long dance sequences from the supporting characters. The scenes detracted from the linearity of the narrative, a flaw as much to blame on the familiarity of the story as the tangential choreography.
In a confusing last sequence, the queen is killed by the dwarves, forced to dance in burning-hot iron shoes. Without reading the fairy tale, it’s unclear exactly what is killing her, and the flailing dance of the dying queen is both too long and incomparably under-choreographed.
Despite its few faltering moments, Preljocaj’s “Snow White” crafts an affecting story purely from movement.
It’s one once upon a time that brings a deserved happily ever after.
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