Our third trip to see the American Ballet Theatre last night was timed to coincide with my birthday so we made a complete evening of it with dinner at The Met followed by the performance of Cinderella.

We’ve been looking forward to this show because two of ABT’s principal dancers that we’ve wanted to see were performing. Julie Kent, who is celebrating her 25th year with ABT, was Cinderella and Marcelo Gomes, a principal since 2002 and one very sexy guy, was Prince Charming. In their separate scenes, these two are incredibly talented dancers but bringing them together created some wonderfully magic moments.

Kent and Gomes have good experience playing these characters. They’ve danced them a number of times since ABT premiered this version of Cinderella in 2006 with these two in the lead roles. It shows in the exquisite chemistry they have. From his first glimpse of Cinderella as she enters the ball to the beautiful dances they share during the evening on to their rediscovery of each other. I was mesmerized.

Besides these two being so incredible, the stepsisters — Simone Messmer and Maria Riccetto — were incredibly funny. As they schemed to win the prince’s heart it was often at the expense of each other and, of course, Cinderella. I didn’t really know that slapstick ballet was possible but these two made it work and it was a lot of fun. The reaction from their dates to the ball, as well as the prince and his entourage was awesome. Messmer and Riccetto played it for laughs right through the curtain call.

There was great use of pumpkins as well, as you would imagine in Cinderella. There were dancing pumpkins that the fairy godmother controlled. There was also a delightful pumpkin that delivered Cinderella to the ball.

The, as midnight sounded, pumpkins invaded the ball, which only Cinderella could see, to wisk her away. The end of the second act, where this happened, was one of the most thrilling pieces of dance and music I’ve seen. As the clock tick-tocked it’s way to midnight and the bells sounded, the movement of the pumpkins was just enough creepy to very cool.

Cinderella was another wonderful buy in our season ticket package and yet another look at a different style of ballet. In two weeks we see the last in our series: Sleeping Beauty. We’re also considering picking up tickets to see Sawn Lake with Kent and Gomes next Saturday so that we can see them again before the season is over.

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Meanwhile, the dinner I mentioned at the Grand Tier restaurant was a great way to start the evening. We got to look out over the fountain in the Lincoln Center courtyard. The food was delicious–we both had herb roasted chicken with caramelized spring onions, broccolini, Pecorino cheese spaetzle. We diverged on desert with as you can see with the pictures below.

Between the dinner and ballet, it was a great birthday evening!