Review of The Nutcracker Ballet

Presented by the Dance Theatre of Bradenton, Florida

Snow Queen
Snow Queen. Photo © 2007 Treva Bedinghaus, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Never before has the Nutcracker Suite sounded so sweet...I saw The Nutcracker last night presented by the Dance Theatre of Bradenton. I felt a lump in my throat as I watched my young daughter leap across the stage dressed like a mouse in her first Nutcracker performance. Although personally touching to me, the show was heartwarming and fun for all. The Dance Theatre of Bradenton should be proud of their first performance since reforming earlier this year.

Artistic Director Allison Norton's staging of The Nutcracker - now in its fourteenth year - is a lively, magical affair, complete with elaborate costumes, fancy stage props, and talented dancers. Last night, Norton's Bradenton holiday tradition highlighted the technical abilities of her 14-member company, supplemented by young dancers of her local ballet school.

 

In the opening act, the audience was mesmerized by the party scene at the Tannenbaum's home. The party cast members, complete with two living dogs, managed to captivate audience members with colorful expressions and cutesy scenarios. Particularly remarkable was the well-acted sibling rivalry displayed between Clara and her young brother Fritz, portrayed by Samantha Cook and JD Wilmott-Hook, respectively. The living dolls delighted all, followed by an entertaining escapade of little dancing mice. Guest dancers Fernando Moraga and Mauricio Canete, portraying the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, wowed the audience with their amazing jumping abilities and thrilling sword fight scene.

 

Despite a slight delay due to a minor technical difficulty, the opening scene of Act 2 was highlighted by excellent choreography and stunning costuming. The audience was magically transported to the Land of Sweets. The dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, portrayed by Ashley Borchert, was beautifully executed, showcasing several sequences of pirouettes.

A flock of tiny sheep stole the show as they gracefully danced circles around Clara to the delight of the audience. The Spanish and Chinese dances were especially entertaining, and obviously well-rehearsed. Courtney Albritton was a delightful Dew Drop Fairy, with perfectly-pointed feet and airy jumps. Perhaps most remarkable was the solo dance of the Russian, flawlessly danced by Mauricia Canete. Canete thrilled the audience with a series of gravity-defying toe touches and breathtaking pirouettes.

Although the sound system could have used some tweaking, this year's performance of the Nutcracker by the Dance Theatre of Bradenton truly captured the holiday spirit. Despite the many challenges facing a newly-formed dance company, this year's opening performance exemplifies the power of strong artistic direction and technical dance ability.

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Bedinghaus, Treva. "Review of The Nutcracker Ballet." ThoughtCo, May. 2, 2016, thoughtco.com/review-of-the-nutcracker-ballet-1007240. Bedinghaus, Treva. (2016, May 2). Review of The Nutcracker Ballet. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/review-of-the-nutcracker-ballet-1007240 Bedinghaus, Treva. "Review of The Nutcracker Ballet." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/review-of-the-nutcracker-ballet-1007240 (accessed November 22, 2017).