By Alaina Milazzo
The applause for Thursday night’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” began even before the curtain opened and continued long after it closed.
The ballet was performed in five shows Thursday through Sunday at the Musical Arts Center and featured dancers from the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department and the Jacobs Pre-College Ballet Program.
Tickets started at $20 for students and were sold out by Friday night. However, live streaming was available for those who could not attend performances at the MAC.
“This is a conventional production of ‘The Nutcracker,’” director and choreographer Michael Vernon said. “Some people make it very localized, but this is just the traditional, set somewhere in Germany or Austria.”
“The Nutcracker,” a classic Christmas tale, follows the story of Clara, who receives a Nutcracker doll from Herr Drosselmeyer for Christmas amid antics from her brother, Fritz, and the other children.
Upon falling asleep, Clara dreams of mice battles, a Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy attendants dancing through a candy-filled landscape.
Aaron Anker, a junior ballet major and performer in “The Nutcracker,” encouraged students and the community to see the performance even if they’ve never seen it before.
“It is a great first ballet to see because there’s a lot going on and it’s very exciting,” Anker said. “The adrenaline for a lot of it is really cool.”
Vernon said the dancers had been rehearsing for the show since late October, but they had about a week off “to recover and catch up on some of the academics they might miss” because of dress rehearsals.
“There are four main pas de deux (major dances) … and that’s a lot of work,” Vernon said.
Many dancers played a supporting role one night and a principal role the next, and vice versa.
“It’s always different because we have different dancers for every performance,” Vernon said. “That makes it very egalitarian — everyone has a chance.”
Anker performed a variety of roles, including Herr Silberhaus and Clara’s father on Thursday, the Snow Cavalier on Friday, the Sugar Plum Cavalier on Saturday afternoon and the Flower Cavalier on Saturday night.
In addition to the dancers, Vernon also credits the University orchestra for its role in “The Nutcracker.”
“The music, especially in the first act, tells the story just as much as the choreography does,” he said. “But to impose one’s own vision (for the show) is not as easy as one would think because the music is so set.”
Dancers followed cues from orchestra members for each piece to stay in sync with the music while dancing.
“As a department, we have really exciting opportunities to be able to do a wide range of (representation) that normally university programs don’t get to do, and I think that’s mostly because of our director,” Anker said. “He thinks it’s very important to get to do different stuff, new stuff, old stuff. This gives the city of Bloomington an opportunity to see real choreography from around the world.”
© Indiana Daily Student 2014