Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

‘The Nutcracker’ waltzes into the holiday season

Boston+Ballet+in+Mikko+Nissinens+The+Nutcracker.
Photo by Brooke Trisolini, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker.

The Boston Ballet’s Rendition of “The Nutcracker” ushered in a whimsical winter season with its Nov. 24 opening.

The classic tale returns to the stage every holiday season, but this rendition proved to be one of the most captivating for audiences with a visual flare and humorous take on the iconic tale of Clara and her nutcracker, all curated by a toymaker and party attendant Drosselmeir.

One standout feature of this performance was the integration of many younger dancers into the story. The childlike nature of the story lended itself to push children to the forefront of many ensemble performances in the first act. The adult members of the company integrated into the youthful tale beautifully with full facial expressions and excellent chemistry with the younger company members.

The excitement of the party in Act I could be felt by both the ensemble on stage and audiences, who were captivated by the intrigue of Drosselmeir’s style and command of the stage. 

Featuring a jester, ballerina doll and stuffed bear, all three were impressive and hilarious for audiences. The doll’s performance was technically mesmerizing to watch as she tilted and turned rigidly just like a toy, while the jester leaped on the stage with energy and ease.

The bear’s solo was particularly captivating for the audience. It required the performer to wear a full bear head and fur costume, which only added to the enjoyment audiences got from witnessing a bear performing feats of turning and jumping. Audiences cheered as the bear kissed the audience goodbye before exiting on all fours. 

The first act featured even more exciting animal performances, specifically from the rat ensemble, who made a memorable entrance by entering onto the dark stage and posing for a spotlight one by one. The rigidity of the Nutcracker dance ensemble contrasted the rat army’s eccentricity for one of the most delightful moments of the show.

The second act showcased the dance skills of the company beautifully, featuring different dance styles all accompanied by the iconic and memorable music from Tchaikovsky. All of the dancers were captivating with their dance’s unique styles and costumes meant to depict different international sweets and other holiday traditions.

All the ensembles were astonishing, particularly the Arabian coffee dancers and the Russian Troika dance, both requiring an immense amount of stamina and strength from the performers.

The Arabian coffee dance used movement motifs and garments to immerse audiences in the culture being portrayed. Lia Cirio and Lasha Khozashvili displayed excellent chemistry and trust which made the performance look effortless. The lifts and technical feats of the sequence were breathtaking to watch. The slow and strong movements were elegant and framed the dancers’ abilities beautifully.

The Russian Troika was a feat of stamina and strength from the three dancers, led by Sun Woo Lee, who were leaping and jumping across the stage for the duration of their performance. The upbeat music made the dance an exciting burst of energy amidst some of the slower and more controlled performances of the second act. The audience was in disbelief over the extent of these fast paced and intense jumps, specifically a sequence of consecutive straddle jumps from the trio, where the audience could hear the dancers feet hit their hands as they soared above the stage.

The French Marzipan and Mother Ginger sequences featured the students of the Boston Ballet ensemble as well. The children on stage made for a hilarious addition to the French Marzipan trio as they ran around on stage as sheep amidst two of their herders. 

The iconic Mother Ginger performance was a showcase of the youth troupe’s talents, as they were the forefront of the dance. The children showcased a talent beyond their age with their synchronized performance and energetic stage presence. The humor of this timeless piece struck chords with the audience, who erupted in a choir of laughter when this ensemble and Drosselmeir interacted with the larger than life character of Mother Ginger.

The Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker shared an exquisite Grand Pas de Deux, exchanging phrases of choreography, stealing the second act with their chemistry and closing out Clara’s adventure with a display of technique and skill.

John Lam’s performance as Drosselmeir was an excellent introduction and a captivating presence throughout the entire performance. His technique and whimsy in the humorous moments was always a treat. He served as a unique guide through the world, as the audience followed him much like Clara did through the festive world.

The performance of the famous Waltz of the Flowers in this rendition was accented by Lauren Herfindahl’s performance as Dew Drop. The ensemble piece was made strong by her leadership and solo moments in the understated choreography of the sequence. The gentle and melodic tune is one the audience recognized and held their breath in captivation as the group navigated the stage swiftly and elegantly.

The immersive set design complemented the festive nature of the story of the Nutcracker, with set pieces looking almost storybook-like at times, with plenty of wonder and color. The moment where Clara enters this strange new world and shrinks down to the size of the rats and Nutcracker, the centerpiece of the tree slowly gets bigger before the audience’s eyes, bringing out a wave of gasps and cheers as the descent into this holiday world begins. 

The snow effect during the finale of Act one was the perfect way to excite the audience for what was to come, with a blizzard of stunning visuals as the dancers continued through the beautiful effect on the stage.

This year’s rendition of The Nutcracker solidified Boston Ballet as a must-have event on your roster during this holiday season. Performing through the Christmas season, you will not want to miss out on the festivities of this production.

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About the Contributor
Julia Capraro, Editor-at-Large | she/her
Julia is a sophomore broadcast journalism and psychology major from Canton, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the journal, she is President of Suffolk Visual Arts Club. She loves cooking, crochet and reading in her free time.

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