It was one of those enchanting evenings that make for a lasting memory. In the afterglow of a resplendent Sofia sunset, we entered the Military Academy Park to watch a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet, Cinderella. The park had restricted entry until 2010. Now the public has access, and the park is the venue for operatic and ballet performances in the summer.
Scores of children, the vast majority of them little girls, made their way up the cobblestone path, accompanied by parents and grandparents. The girls wore their prettiest dresses, sensing that a special evening was ahead for them. The path led to steps that provided the entry way to a small amphitheater in a woodsy setting.
There was an orchestra pit, but it was empty. Prokofiev’s captivating music was prerecorded; a bit of static punctuating the captivating melodies. Yet, once the dancing began, all was magic. Through the highly imaginative choreography, the fairy tale unfolded. Poor Cinderella, fraught with hope and expectation, overcame the evil machinations of her step-mother and step-sisters, and triumphantly fit into the silver slipper and won the heart of the Prince.
The eyes of the little girls fixated on lovely Cinderella. Someday perhaps a handsome prince will come for them. This night emboldened their imaginations and dreams.
The ballet ended, and the children walked down the path to exit the park. A few of the girls split off the path to whirl and spin in dances of their own. Dusk settled into the park, and all the Cinderellas for a night headed for home.