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The path to the Royal Ball

From rags and exhausting house chores all the way to a palace, with large gardens where she could wander about in her impeccable crystal shoes, alongside her prince charming. The path to royalty is a long and rocky one for a plebeian, but despite the hardships of her pre-marital life, Cinderella held on tight to her dream of attending the royal ball. When her fairy godmother offered a path to enchant the coveted prince, she made the most of it. It is but a fairytale, of course, yet one that compels the hearts of those who relentlessly pursue a dream.
Thus, there is no one better, perhaps, to incarnate this Walt Disney iconic character than Ana Paula Oioli. The talented ballet dancer neither dressed in rags during her infancy, nor did she grow up bullied by her mean stepmother. However, she left a tiny, humble town in Brazil’s countryside, where classical culture is more than often a vanishing myth, and made it into the international dancing scene. Not only did she attract the attention of renowned companies and schools in Europe and North America, at the age of 17, but she also became the lead-dancer of Coastal City Ballet’s upcoming original performance of Cinderella’s eternal fairytale. While Cinderella watched her carriage magically sprout from pumpkins, it took the Brazilian girl much talent and perseverance to earn a role of distinction at the royal ball.
Oioli put on her first ballerina shoes when she was four, in Barra Bonita, Sao Paulo. Nine years later, after much practice, the fairy godmother appeared,A “a producer of a big ballet festival started talking to me and said I had something special and that I would be a good ballerina if I wanted and worked really hard“, she explained. Unlike Cinderella’s godmother fairy, though, Oioli’s did not have a wand. The dancer worked very hard to be awarded a scholarship at the Munich Ballet Academie and, shortly after, to perform with two prestigious German ballet companies: the Bayerisches Staatsballett and the Thueringen Ballett.
“I left Brazil because, unfortunately, dance, like so many other arts, are not really taken seriously there. If you want a career in that field, you have to go for it and take all the chances and opportunities,“ said Oioli.
Irene Schneider, who signs the choreography of Coastal City Ballet’s Cinderella, agreed with the ballerina.
“Brazil has very talented dancers but not very many opportunities for them to perform. Classical ballet is not so popular [there].“
And so, on her path to the royal ball, Oioli went abroad again.
In 2012, a second fairy godmother approached. CCB’s Artistic Director, Li Yaming, met her at a dance festival in Brazil and invited her to come to Vancouver, increasing to seven the number of Brazilian performers in the company. In fact, CCB has attracted quite a few dancers from around the globe since its establishment as a division of Pacific DanceArts, in 2011.
Oioli came to BC and it only took her three years to become the lead-dancer of a major original performance. She considers the responsibility of playing Cinderella an amazing professional opportunity, but she also acknowledges the challenges ahead of her.
“It’s a lot of work, practice and research to make it as real as possible. Every movement, expression, step… everything has a meaning and I hope everyone will enjoy it. It’s hard and challenging but there is no better feeling than going on stage and feeling totally satisfied,“ she said.
As to the future Cinderellas, little kids in ballet tutus in the interior of Brazil, or anywhere else in the world, Oioli says the path to the royal ball is not easy, but “no matter what people say, you have to listen to your heart and focus on what you believe,“. Keep an eye out for your fairy godmother!
 

COASTAL CITY BALLET PRESENTS: “Swan Lake”
Vancouver: May 21A 2015
Time:
8:00 p.m.
Ticket prices:
$25 – $45
Tickets available here
Discounts for groups of 10 or more
Address:
The Vancouver Playhouse
600 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, BC
More information:
604.241.7292
Surrey: JuneA 10, 2016
Time:
8:00 pm
Ticket prices:
$25 – $45
Tickets available here
Discounts for groups of 10 or more
Address:
Surrey Arts Centre
13750-88 Avenue
Surrey, BC
More information:
604.501.5566
www.surrey.ca/theatre
 

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