Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Nutcracker

Christmas Eve brings excitement to children of all ages.
Hosting the annual party is Clara's family in their lavish home.
Clara's little brother, Fritz, catches a mouse.   Naturally, his first thought is to tease his sister with it.  Who wants a terrified mouse being held by its tail?
Fortunately, their Uncle Dosselmeyer is attending bring a trumpet for Fritz and a very special gift for Clara, a decorative nutcracker in the large shape of a toy soldier.
Being a typical little brother, Fritz breaks it.
This is how The Nutcracker, a story told with no spoken words, begins.   A gorgeously entrancing ballet presented by Ballet Nebraska whose name next year will be American Midwest Ballet.
It is hypnotic for everyone of all ages.  The proof was a two-year-old little boy sitting near me.  He was completely mesmerized.  Strangely, I saw no one leaving the theater to go to the lobby.   No one.
The audience was completely fascinated by this ballet performance.
The timing is perfect.  The show lasts about ninety minutes with an additional twenty minute intermission.
The costumes are radiant, each one intricately individual for each person.    Deborah Overturff and Thom Peterson are brilliant in making beautiful and moveable costumes complimenting each person. The sets and props are magnificently colorful.   I was amazed at the backstage crew who are responsible for everything on stage except for the actual dancing.  These unseen diligent and attentive crew members, director, production and stage managers, lighting and sound managers, wardrobe mangers, chaperones, and even the members of the Opera Omaha Children's Chorus and director are phenomenal.
Numerous performers left me with memories of their spellbinding performances.  Tianna Hartin-Kovy was a wonderful Clara.   Fritz was played by an adorable Owen Fuesel.   Their parents portrayed by Bret Samson and Sasha York were absolutely gracefully gorgeous.
Personally, I adore both the choreography and performances by both Matthew Carter and Erika Overturff.   These two epitomize gracefulness and the essence of ballet.  They are masterful with dance.
The entire dance company is phenomenal.   I so admire the strength and grace of the male performances who are constantly catching people in their arms so effortlessly while maintaining their balance and being part of their dance.  The numerous dancers who created each character as an individual while still matching each step of the group.
Who did I enjoy the most?
Clara, Fritz, the society dog guest star from the Nebraska Humane Society, Drosselmeyer by Matthew Carter, the Ballet Doll and the Jack-in the-Box by Katherine Eppink and Alexandra Hoffman, the Rat Queen by Claire Goodwillie who happened to be the best I have ever seen in this role, The Snow Queen by Erika Overturff, The Snow King by Sasha York, The Sugar Plum Fairy by Erin Alarcon,  and The Cavalier by Ryan Christopher all made the show appear magical.  To appear to move on air or to fly in a dream, every performer added to this wonderful production.
What is special about the Ballet Nebraska performance?    Why not go to any Nutcracker performance?
First, the integration of the ballet students within the performance.    These students are so well taught, it is often difficult to realize that they are not professionals.   Secondly, Ballet Nebraska presents one of the colorfully beautiful presentations of any production.   Lastly, the production is intoxicatingly enticing, without the alcohol.
Additional performances will be December 2nd and 3rd at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha.
For a memorable and enthralling experience, see Ballet Nebraska's The Nutcracker.

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