Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition everywhere, but nobody does it better than Carolina Ballet. Its tenth run proves every bit as delightful and magical as it has in previous years. While not a lot has changed, this is one ballet that simply never grows old.
The party scene that makes up the first act features an incredible set by Jeff A.R. Jones. Sparkling lights, a gorgeous tree, and festive partygoers serve to make the scene come to life. The Clara who performed in Friday’s show, Ashley Burnett, is adorable and very talented, believably portraying emotion and making the most of her dances. Her little brother, Fritz (Griffin Cece) is wonderfully teasing, and the adult cast members have just as much energy as the children onstage. Highlights include a jaunty dance from the Toy Soldier (Richard Krusch) and a lovely little number from the Toy Sugar Plum (Lola Cooper).
The battle scene is full of fast-paced movements and excitement, but the audience is again transfixed when the story reaches the magical Land of Snow. Gabor Kapin’s Northwind moves with incredible grace as realistic snow falls from the ceiling. Of course, it’s the Land of Sweets that really brings out the child in everyone. Margaret Severin-Hansen is a beautiful butterfly, and Yevgeny Shlapko makes an enchanting Tea. Davy Nethercutt’s Mother Ginger is, as always, an audience favorite, and the little gingerbread cookie children are cute enough to eat.
With dazzling dances and that special magic-of-Christmas feeling, Nutcracker is one show that shouldn’t be missed. No matter how many times it’s been seen, it still has the power to turn even the most cynical adult into an awestruck child. Nutcracker will run through Sunday, November 26. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.carolinaballet.com