Apprentice Offers a Bright and Daring Winter Fairy

Alberta Ballet's Melissa Eguchi and Sayuri Nakanii as season fairies in Cinderella. Photo: Paul McGrath

Alberta Ballet's Melissa Eguchi and Sayuri Nakanii as season fairies in Cinderella. Photo: Paul McGrath

The story of Cinderella doesn't always include season fairies. They aren’t part of the original French text (by Charles Perrault in 1697) nor do they make an appearance in the Disney movie.


The season fairies are, however, key characters in Cinderella in ballet tradition. The Fairy Godmother whisks Cinderella off to a forest where the heroine is remade with a new dress, a carriage and, of course, exquisite slippers. Assist the Fairy Godmother are a bevy of sprites, four dragonflies and four fairies, representing spring, summer, autumn. And in this scene, each fairy gets her own moment in the spotlight.


When Choreographer Christopher Anderson set about casting for Cinderella, the season fairies struck him as particularly important.

As I thought about why the seasons were part of that scene,” says Anderson, “I came to realize these characters convey a passage of time. They show the audience that Cinderella is growing. She’s maturing from an optimistic dreamer to a bold adventurer.
— Christopher Anderson

After Anderson made the connection, he began looking to cast dancers who would approach their solos with an element of daring – to go from being on top of their shoe to being at the very edge of the top of their shoe.


Says Anderson, “The season fairies are guides who inspire Cinderella.”


Some of Alberta Ballet’s most senior talent took on the roles. Anderson also cast Sayuri Nakanii, a first year apprentice. As expected, the dancers rose to the challenge, and this especially can be said of Nakanii who performed the Winter Fairy with fearless confidence in each of Calgary’s five performances.


Edmonton audiences can look forward to seeing Nakanii as the Winter Fairy in both the matinee and the evening performances on March 24.


About Alberta Ballet Apprentices and Trainees
Alberta Ballet helps its newest talent – apprentices and trainees - build strong foundations with support from the RBC Emerging Artists Project

Cindy Soderstrom