Runs December 6 -28,
For tickets and info, call 312.386.8905 or
Clara and her beloved Nutcracker Prince. A vibrant
Victorian Christmas ball. The epic battle with the Rat King and his
minions. And the snow-filled dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. All of
these are gorgeously depicted in The Joffrey Ballet's famed
Nutcracker, which more than delivers the kind of lovely artistry
this wonderful story merits.
Originally conceived and directed by Robert Joffrey
in 1987, this production has become a timeless classic for a
reason: it's a terrific way to celebrate the holiday season and
such a treat to let the beauty of Tchaikovsky's music wash over you
like so many sparkling snowflakes (which are incorporated into the
design in glittery abundance).
It's easy to forget that the graceful, feather-like
dancers featured in this performance are actually powerhouses of
Olympiad proportions- until you see them perform gravity-defying
movements with a flick of the wrist or ankle. April Daly's Sugar
Plum Fairy and Dylan Gutierrez's The Nutcracker Prince are
standouts, as are the Divertissements (most notably the Coffee From
Arabia, portrayed by Christine Rocas and Rory Hohenstein). My
daughter and I both loved the larger-than-life puppetry of Mother
Ginger and her Polichnelles - and if there's anything cuter than
little kids dancing as gingerbread men and tiny clowns, well then,
I haven't yet seen it.
Clocking in at a little over two hours, this isn't
your average family-friendly show length. But I've rarely taken in
a performance that's felt more decadent or lushly festive and,
based on my daughter's riveted perch on the edge of her chair, I
think it's safe to assume that she more than dug it. I had wondered
if parts of the show would be lost on my four year-old, but as soon
as the overture began I realized that this is the perfect age to
introduce the art of ballet. What preschooler doesn't fully
understand body language and movement to tell a story? Add to that
the wonder of this glittery performance and beauty of these
dancers, and you've got something special:
A guarantee that your little kid will be attempting
the Sugar Plum Fairy's pas de deux with her little sister for the
better part of a week, for one thing.
And the beginning of a lifelong love affair with
the ballet, starting with a downright spectacular holiday
Disclosure: I was provided complimentary
tickets to this ballet, but all thoughts and opinions are my
Keely Flynn is a Chicago playwright, freelance writer, and blogger living with three young children, an extraordinarily tolerant husband, and two cats who just try to make it through the day without being ridden like ponies. Check out her personal blog, lollygagblog.com.
See more of Keely's stories here.
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