Hello everyone! Welcome to Blogmas Day 11! Today I wanted to share my thoughts on The Nutcracker ballet I saw recently.
There’s a local dance school that performs The Nutcracker every year at a nearby theatre and so I’d decided I wanted to see it this year. I’d seen it performed about two years ago and it’s such a classic for this time of year that I figured, why not?
About the performance
As I mentioned, this production is done by a local dance school. Their version is called The Magic of the Nutcracker and it isn’t a full performance that you would see from a professional company, but it is a great performance for a great price. My mom and I arrived about two hours before the ballet was scheduled to start and we were able to get two seats in the fourth row for $36 each at the box office. We’d also paid $10 for parking so it was just a great deal for a nice, festive night. A lot of the audience seemed to be family members of the performers but there was plenty that just decided to go support the local arts too.
Since it was a school, the students ranged from young children to adult dancers, some of which I suspect are a part of the school’s professional track or the instructors themselves, and a lot of students danced multiple tracks as well. I know from looking at the school before when I was looking for classes that they also have auditions for their roles in the show and offer a lot of different types of dance so I’m interested to see if maybe they do smaller shows for other dance students but the ballet classes are offered at every level so that’s cool to see that they offered roles for every level too.
The youngest children were adorable and played roles such as children at the party, little mice, horses pulling a carriage, and other cute little roles. The older students who weren’t dancing en pointe yet were flowers, Clara’s friends at the party, and other smaller roles. The students that were dancing en pointe and I suspected were part of the professional track included the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snowflake Queen, and other big roles like that. Since they are all younger performers in general, I noticed some of the steps were simplified and the staging was changed to allow for more dancers on the stage in general, probably to include more kids. I will admit, I haven’t seen a professional company perform The Nutcracker before but I have seen clips on YouTube from professional companies so that’s just my take based on what I have seen. Even so, the students in the roles seemed to be very well matched for their roles based on not only their age groups but also in their abilities as they all did great.
It was really nice to see a great diverse group of dancers with different body types, which you don’t always see. I think I noticed a bit more since reading about the New York City Ballet casting the first black Marie (or “Clara” in other versions) in their production since it started in 1954. Plus, since I’ve been immersing myself more and more in the world of ballet I have seen plenty of other people calling out the lack of diversity in ballet. I really enjoyed seeing all sort of dancers on stage.
Also, it was great being able to appreciate it all as a dancer. The dancers on stage made it look (mostly) so easy, and kept their smiles on their faces through (most of) the performance. However, having some more experience trying some of those steps, I know how difficult they are and how great actors they all are making it look so effortless and beautiful. It did really look great and even when mistakes happened, they did a great job at recovering quickly and moving forward with their performance.
So those are my thoughts on The Nutcracker production I saw! Let me know what you think of this ballet, whether you’ve seen a full performance or a school one like I did.
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