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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Nutcracker Ballet

     The Moscow Ballet from Russia did a superb performance on Wednesday, December 2nd, at The Stiefel Theatre in Salina, performing a play first seen in St. Petersburg, Russia at the end of the 19th century,with a musical score by Russian playwright, Tchaikovsky.  It was a ballet that was easily understood and easily accessible to the general public.  The costumes, the Russian Trioka sleigh, the Rousseau-inspired backdrops all brought a quiet elegance to the stage.

   Take a step back in time to Russia in the 1890's.  There is a girl there whose name is Masha and she is on her way to find her handsome prince who at the beginning of this ballet is disguised as a lowly wooden nutcracker.

     It's Christmas Eve and the family is opening up their gifts.  Among those gifts is a tiny man who is a wooden nutcracker.  Masha is enchanted with him.  So much so, that after the festivities have ended and the children are in bed, Masha sneaks back downstairs to check on her beloved nutcracker and interrupts a war which is taking place between the Gingerbread Men and the mice in the parlor. Masha aids the nutcracker in fighting off an attack from one of the mice, and the nutcracker is transformed in the process.

     Masha, along with her nutcracker prince is now off on a fairy-tale journey to the land of Peace and Harmony.  The pair are greeted by a giant dove and are ferried about by Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden.  The group travels to a variety of places in the Land of Peace and Harmony in a beautiful sleigh where they meet a variety of characters.  In the end, true love triumphs over all.

     Over 40 children from the Salina area also participated with The Moscow Dance Company in bringing this ballet to life.  They trained, practiced and prepared along with the dance company for the night's performance.

     The costumes were magnificent, the stage a delight for the eye with amazing backdrops, the music superb, the dancers were polished and their performance spot on, and the story, one for the ages.  The Stiefel Theatre, Jane Gates, and the sponsors for the night are to be commended for bringing this excellent stage production of The Nutcracker to Salina.  Bravo!

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