Sugarplum Fairies and the Mouse King: A Review of Boston Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’

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It’s that time of year again. Time for “The Nutcracker” to return to local theaters everywhere, that is.

From November 25 to December 31, the Boston Ballet is putting on “The Nutcracker” at the Boston Opera House.  This show is a holiday tradition, a ballet that returns to the stage every year around Christmastime.  Based on the fairytale by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker is a story about a little girl named Clara who receives a beautifully crafted nutcracker as a present on Christmas Eve.  After falling asleep that night, Clara wakes up to find that her nutcracker has come to life as a prince, and together they travel to the Kingdom of Sweets on an exciting adventure.

The Nutcracker perfectly blends the fantasy of fairytale with the beauty of ballet, allowing it to draw an audience of all ages.  Having watched numerous productions of “The Nutcracker” and having performed in the ballet myself, I am still mesmerized by the show every time.

This was my first time watching a performance by the Boston Ballet and I was completely impressed with the way the tale was interpreted by artistic director Mikko Nissinen and by each dancer’s talent.  The little girl who played Clara, Isabella Auerbach, was so confident and so talented that it was hard to believe that she was a child.  Her movements were very expressive, and it was easy to follow along with the story with her as the main character.

Ballet in general is an incredibly stunning art form.  The way ballerinas are able to move their bodies with such ease and grace is breathtaking.  This, combined with the richly captivating music composed by Tchaikovsky, makes “The Nutcracker” both visually and aurally appealing.

My favorite part was in Act II, after Clara and the Nutcracker arrived at the Kingdom of Sweets.  It is called the Arabian Dance and is performed as a pas de deux, which is a dance performed by two people, usually a man and a woman.  The Middle Eastern style of dance deviated from the standard ballet form and both dancers performed barefoot.  The exotic feel of the dance combined with the dynamic of the two dancers who performed it added up to an entrancing spectacle.

Though the show lasted for roughly two hours, it seemed to go by much more quickly. Despite the stress of finals and the end of the semester, The Nutcracker was the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. It provides viewers with an enjoyable escape into a make-believe world that is very entertaining and an alternative to the typical movie or play.

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