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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Preview-The Nutcracker Ballet

      On December 2nd The Moscow Ballet will bring The Nutcracker to life on the stage at The Stiefel Theatre in Salina.  Before the show premieres. I got a chance to step behind the scenes to learn insider secrets about the ballet.

     The Moscow Ballet version is unique, not only in the name change of the main character from Maria/Clara to Masha, but in Act II, which usually finds the main character in the traditional Land of Sweets, Masha will arrive in the land of Peace and Harmony.  A large dove will greet Masha and the Nutcracker Prince; this dove will consist of two dancers each carrying 20 foot feathered wings.  Masha and the Nutcracker Prince will also by escorted through the land of Peace and Harmony by Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden in a Russian Trioka Sleigh.  Truly a feast for the eyes.

     A full company of dancers, 36 in all, will grace the stage several times during the performance.  I've been assured that the choreography is such that the audience won't be overwhelmed with the amount of dancers or action on the stage.  This ballet should be quite easy to follow along with the story line and keep all the parts in perspective.    

     Costumes were designed by Arthur Oliver, an American designer, who traveled to St. Petersburg to oversee the creation of the costumes.  They'll be a lot of flash, decoration, and detail.  There are even Swarovski crystals on Masha's tutu.  I can't wait to see that outfit.

     The backdrops will be Rousseau-inspired scenes, especially for the second act.  They'll be fanciful Russian animals and birds, as well as a rainbow and angels.  All of this set to Tchiakovsy's original musical score. 

     It's taken lots of hard work to bring this ballet to life.  The dance company will be recruiting and training 40 children from the Salina area to perform with the company on stage.  Rehearsals begin usually a week or more in advance.  The Moscow Ballet will be on tour throughout the United States bringing The Nutcracker Ballet to life for two months, and the run began this month of November.

     The Nutcracker has survived down through the ages as one of the happiest of all ballets and Tchiakovsky's music only adds to this delightful ballet.  There are a variety of endings to this ballet.  Spoiler alert, although I'm sure it's not that much of a surprise, but the ending will  be a happy one, as the boy and girl fall in love in the end.  What better way to end the ballet and especially at Christmas time.

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