Winter in LA is a rare feeling, but watching Miami City Ballet's performance of "The Nutcracker" is enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit.
The ballet ran from December 7-10 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of LA's Music Center. It combines the traditions of the classic holiday story of the Nutcracker with the modern technique and choreography of the legendary George Balanchine.
The story of "The Nutcracker" is a simple but memorable one. It centers on a young girl and her toy Nutcracker, who turns into a prince after she saves him from an army of mice who visit her during Christmas Eve. The ballet may be one of Tchaikovsky's most notable compositions and has become a Christmas staple for ballet companies and families alike.
Miami City Ballet brings charm and cheer into the production, with an elegant pas de deux by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and a warm Christmas Eve celebration with the children. The Arabian dancer steals the spotlight during the second act of the ballet. She moves through the choreography with grace and precision, bewitching the crowd with her fluidity. Overall, there is a sense of unity and sophistication present in the performance. The children in Act 1 are alive with spirit and remain in sync throughout the entire act. The corps executes the Waltz of the Flowers in perfect harmony, akin to snowflakes fluttering across the stage.
The stage direction and production bring the story to life, as well as the intricate designs of the costumes. Stage lighting remains low to complement the whimsical nature of the plot, and draw attention to the little details of the choreography.
Every family should witness the charisma and magnetism of "The Nutcracker." It is a mystical, charming Christmas experience, and one much needed in sunny California.