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Published On: Sat, Dec 19th, 2015

Next Gen Ballet delivers a beautiful ‘Nutcracker’

Tchaikovsky’s timeless score comes to life through the majesty of the Next Generation Ballet with a cast of nearly 175 performers.  The Nutcracker ballet tells the story of young Clara receiving a nutcracker doll for Christmas from her godfather, Uncle Drosselmeyer, who just happens to be a magician.  After the holiday festivities are complete, Clara drifts off to sleep and experiences fascinating dreams brought on by her special gift.

NYC Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" photo/courtesty of The Straz Center

NYC Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” photo/courtesty of The Straz Center

Without using a single spoken word, the first of the two acts is very easy to understand for any audience member.  The lovely holiday scene features Uncle Drosselmeyer’s dancing dolls entertaining the family just before Clara is presented her nutcracker.  But the fantasies come to life as this unusual guest works his magic over the slumbering child leading to dreams of her doll transforming into a real prince and fighting off the mice then taking her away on a magical sleigh to a land of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowflakes-o-plenty, and gravity-defying acrobats.  All of this activity carries you through the first half of the production with the familiar score putting you in the holiday spirit.

While the entire ballet is beautiful, the second act does seem to drag out a bit as you lose the sense of the story.

As the act leads you from fairies to Spanish dancers followed by Arabian dancers, Chinese dancers, Russian nesting dolls, caterpillars (which were absolutely the most adorable children ever on a stage), and butterflies, you may find yourself wondering if anyone ever truly has dreams like this.  But then again, you’re never quite sure if Clara is dreaming or if Uncle Drosselmeyer has magically created these scenes on his own.  While every number is a thing of beauty, their cohesiveness is a bit questionable but that’s the story.  That said, the dancers leaping across the stage definitely create a sense of amazement for the viewer.

If you have the opportunity to add this performance to your entertainment plans this holiday season, you will not be disappointed.  The Nutcracker ballet is a world-renowned presentation that everyone should experience at least once.

Overall The Nutcracker receives 4 out of 5 stars

Guest review by Debbie Sage

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