George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” has returned to the stage of the David H. Koch Theater for the 2012 holiday season. The performance is scheduled to run from November 25 through December 31. According to the New York Post , “New York City Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ is as much about kicking off the holiday season as it is about dance.” The ballet is a familiar classic for the holidays.
Featured on stage are 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and two separate casts of 50 students currently enrolled in the School of American Ballet. The staging features Balanchine’s classic choreography and elaborate visual effects. “From the moment the lights dim, you are transported to a wondrous world of magic and wonder. A rousing snowstorm sends a blizzard of ballerinas across the stage, sweeping you to exotic locales in the enchanting Land of Sweets,” claims the official website for the New York City Ballet.
Following tradition from past years, the performance evokes holiday magic for all in attendance. Watching the Christmas tree grow to incredible heights is bound to fill anyone with holiday cheer. “The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers’ imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 40 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance,” says the New York City Ballet. “Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer’s head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).”
From the beginning of Act 1, the performance pulls the audience into the story, with entertaining holiday party scenes. In the second act, the stage brings you into a dream world, filled with incredible dancing, plenty of grace and an engaging fight scene. One of the truly magical things about the New York City Ballet’s performances is that you may never see the same show twice. The casting is split in many ways, allowing parts to be played by different dancers throughout the run, allowing many members of the ballet to have their moment in the spotlight.
In a review from the New York Times, writer Alastair Macaulay shares, “the most perfect example of how much more Balanchine gives us to see, and therefore to hear in the music, than any other dance version occurs in the Act II Waltz of the Flowers. Steps, lines, rhythms and formations occur at dazzling frequency, and the speed of the Dewdrop soloist within her music is often bewildering. In consequence, we see, hear — breathe — faster.”
Tickets for “The Nutcracker” are currently on sale to the general public.