Sunday, December 19, 2010

Long Beach Ballet Presents the Nutcracker

Call me a Sally, if you wish, but I think ballet is beautiful. The family and I went to the Terrace Theatre see the Long Beach production of the Nutcracker yesterday afternoon, and it was time well spent.

Surely you are all familiar with the Nutcracker, perhaps the most famous work of Tchaikovsky, It is the story of a girl who falls into a Christmas snooze and dreams of the wonders of the Russian empire. And rats. And lots of guys in stretchy pants.

Of course the score is magnificent. It is timeless and recognizable to most everyone. Unlike many local productions, this show uses a live orchestra. They were very good, although the acoustics in the theatre made the sound a little dull.

The choreography was most always appropriate to the score, and it amazes me to no end that people can actually remember the correct order to do all of those complicated dance steps.

The scenery and changes were cleverly done, and there were some gratuitous special effects, including explosions and people flying around. Even a live horse. Everybody and their brother wants a live horse in THEIR show.

And the costumes were fantastic, including the aforementioned stretchy pants.

The best part was the cast, which was huge. I was glad to see that they were able to work in a lot of kids, which gave the show more personality. As this was a local production there was a bit of an imbalance of talent, with some great principal dancers and some ho-hum others.

But overall, it was a great show, and they did it in good time, too. They started a half hour late, but once they got going, they kept things moving, and the show lasted a little over two hours. This is not bad, as I think it was pretty much unabridged. Correct me if I am wrong…

I would recommend getting the family out to see this production. There is one more matinee show in Long Beach on December 19, and two shows in Pasadena on December 22 and 23. Tickets are available from the Antichrist (Ticketmaster).


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