A holiday classic comes to San Jose’s Center For the Performing Arts by way of spectacular dancing, sparkles and love. The Nutcracker debuted it’s performance on Saturday, December 8th to a full audience of ballet lovers, families, children and to a first timer, me.
The story was choreographed by award winning principal dancer, Karen Gabay as she took to the stage her version of The Nutcracker. Conductor, George Daughter enchanted us with the timeless music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky played by Symphony Silicon Valley.
Act 1 brought to the audience the story of Marie Stahlbaum’s (performed by Maria Jacobs-Yu) dream of her special gift, the nutcracker, a gift by her loving God-Father, Drosselmeier (performedd by Raymond Rodriguez).
The opening scene was Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house with children and the head family celebrating the holiday season. Drosselmeier staged a play for the guests, the story of the Hard Nut Tale of a princess cast to sleep and a boy named Klous who was bitten by a mouse and turned into wood for he had awoken the princess from her spell and won her love. The Hard Nut Tale grew with Marie and towards the end of the night, as the guests departed and her family slept, she snuck downstairs to admire the Nutcracker gift.
The scene then brought Marie to the tale as she watched the Nutcracker and his soldiers defeat the king mouse and his mice. The spell on the Nutcracker was broken to reveal a handsome Prince (performed by Ramon Moreno).
The act ends as the Prince and Marie’s courtship begins with a winter wonderland of snowflakes. I thought this scene was beautiful as the dancers performed with what looked to be snow falling from the sky.
Act 2 begins with an enchanted christmas forest as the Prince and Marie embark upon seeing the world through Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabian dancers. What characterized each group were the costumes. My favorite costume were the Spanish dancers, however, the performances from the Arabian dancers were tantalizing and sexy.
The finale performance of Marie & the Prince was remarkable. Again, having been a first timer to Ballet San Jose or any ballet performance, I was intrigued by the dancers and how beautifully they performed with every step. And having a fashionable eye, I also focused on the costume design and how well they stayed put and moved with the dancers.
I highly recommend anyone to see this show, whether you’ve seen it before or are newbie like myself, you will enjoy the performance. Having read the verse from Principal Dancer, Karen Gabay, it makes me want to go back and see the show again!
The Nutcracker will be performing at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts until December 23, 2012. To purchase tickets or to learn more about Ballet San Jose, visit their website at www.balletsj.org.