The Cinderella ballet is one of those ballets that takes many different forms in the hands of various choreographers. Take for example the variation from the Monte Carlo Ballet Cinderella to Nureyev's Paris Opera Ballet version: barely recognizable as the same ballet, except for the music. This Birmingham Royal Ballet version follows the traditional story with the focus on Cinderella, herself(pretty much an essential) and her two stepsisters. Here, the stepsisters are named Skinny and Dumpy. Dumpy wears a fat-suit. Both sisters dance on pointe and almost steal the show. They are given very aggressive, athletic choreography and pull it off with perfect technique and humor. They are about the funniest stepsisters I have seen in a Cinderella ballet. Cinderella is equally impressive. She dances barefoot except when she dresses up for the prince's ball, and then she dances on pointe. The shoe she leaves at the ball when she scurries off is a pointe shoe, similar to the Nureyev version. Included in this Cinderella are the dances of the four seasons, often left out of many productions. We also get lots of impressive dancing from the prince, and there is also the role of the ballet teacher. What is excluded? The role of Cinderella's father has been cut out with the exception of a very brief appearance in the prologue. After that, he is never seen, a rather unusual occurrence in this ballet. Also, the prince's search for Cinderella is not very extensive. He doesn't search in foreign lands, for example, and so there are no ethnic dances. There was only one moment that I found very strange. When the prince finally finds Cinderella he is, of course, very happy, but when he notices that she is dressed in tattered clothes, for a moment, he thinks perhaps he is making a mistake. I think the ballet could have done without that strange moment, since it reflects badly on his character. All in all, the story is very traditional. The dancing, costumes, and sets are great. Being a recent stage performance, the image and sound are excellent, as is the camerawork. We don't get too many productions from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, so this is a very welcome addition to the available Cinderella productions.