INsite Magazine

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dance Alive National Ballet: The Nutcracker

Last night, we were lucky enough to finally catch a performance of Dance Alive’s Nutcracker at the Phillips Center. It was at times romantic, exciting, mysterious—even funny. The elaborate sets, beautiful costumes and extensive cast (you won’t believe the number of toy soldiers) made for a refreshingly entertaining holiday performance.

For those unfamiliar with the classic story, it’s (loosely described as) the 19th Century tale of Clara, whose family Christmas Eve party is followed by dreams of mice, soldiers, the eponymous Nutcracker and a fairy tale land of snowflake fairies and sweets. It’s set to famous music by Tchaikovsky (you’ve surely been hearing it in commercials and book stores these days) and this version is choreographed by Dance Alive Artistic Director Kim Tuttle. Last night, Rachel Ridley played Clara, who received a nutcracker doll from her Uncle Drosselmeyer (Tim Heflin). After her younger brother Franz (Elijah Eyerly) jealously breaks her doll, she falls asleep with it in her arms near the Christmas tree. At the stroke of midnight, she wakes to find her brother’s toy soldiers fighting a pack of mice. After saving her nutcracker, he comes to life as a handsome prince (Brian Hunter).

There are no dull moments, and both dance-lovers and willing novices would be wise to catch it while they can. The performance lasted about two hours with a 15-minute intermission—a perfect chance to get a glass of wine. There are performances ($15-$35) tonight (Dec. 18) at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm; Sugar Plum Teas (when you can taste treats and meet the cast for $15) Sat. and Sun. at 4pm; and a Chocolate and Champagne Gala ($75) Sat. at 8pm. Call the Philips Center box office at 352-392-2787 or here for more info.

—Tim Carswell

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