‘Nutcracker’ tradition continues
IDS | December 02, 2012
Forget Christmas music on the radio.
The holiday season begins when IU Ballet Theater kicks off its annual performance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”
Those who have never seen the ballet will likely have heard the classic music, perhaps in the trailer for a slapstick Christmas movie.
It has been around since the 19th century and has become a staple of the season.
All four performances of the production, which is in its 54th year, were sold out.
People gathered to take pictures with the enormous statue of the nutcracker in the Musical Arts Center before Friday night’s show.
The MAC lobby was adorned with holiday décor for the occasion, but its display paled in comparison with what awaited the audience inside the theater.
“The Nutcracker” set effectively combined painted backdrops and moving pieces to create a variety of festive scenes.
Andrea Quinn conducted the orchestra with vigor as the dancers wordlessly told the age-old tale.
Young Clara and Fritz are enjoying the holidays when their godfather, the mystical Herr Drosselmeyer, descends on them bearing gifts and toys.
Drosselmeyer presents Clara with a special gift, an enchanted Nutcracker doll that comes to life at night and protects Clara from the giant mice in her nightmares.
Though they terrorized Clara, the mice entertained the audience, nimbly prancing around onstage despite their large heads.
The duel between The Nutcracker and the King Mouse took place in a thick sea of fog as child dancers bounced up and down on the sidelines. The fight scene was at once graceful and goofy.
The children, members of the Jacobs School of Music Pre-College Ballet Program, stole the show in Act I, dominated most scenes with their impressive dancing and adorable demeanor.
In Act II, with the King Mouse defeated, Herr Drosselmeyer and Clara go to the Land of Sweets to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy.
After Clara tells the Sugar Plum Fairy about her battle with the King Mouse, the Fairy rewards her with a series of performances by her dancers from all around the world.
The montage gave the Nutcracker cast a chance to strut their stuff in a wide arrangement of dances and acrobatics, and the audience responded with cheers for every prolonged pirouette.
When it was time for the curtain call, the crowd erupted in loud, lasting, whistling applause.
Children, adults and IU alumni turned out in droves.
Jacob Gerber, a recent IU graduate, had friends in “The Nutcracker.”
He said it was great seeing them onstage doing what they love. He said the timing of the show seemed spot on.
“I thought it was incredible,” Gerber said.
IU alumna Christine Novotny also enjoyed the production. She said she was impressed by the music and how the dancers could move their bodies.
“I love ballet,” Novotny said. “(‘The Nutcracker’) always puts me in the holiday spirit.”
Copyright © 2012 Indiana Daily Student