Monday, December 13, 2010

The Nutcracker: Family Fun in Dover

The Dance Theatre of Dover’s performance of The Nutcracker was good family entertainment. Little girls in poofy dresses and boys in suits with their parents in tow poured in through the front doors of the Schwartz Center for the Arts. This little jewel of a Victorian-style theater (built in 1904), nestled in the Capital’s historic district, is the perfect spot for ballet, theater and music: because of its size and excellent acoustics, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

The story of The Nutcracker is not unlike many popular fairy tales- there is always a lesson to be learned, usually by way of a frightening or difficult rite of passage. Clara (nicely performed by Laura Ward) must give up her treasured nutcracker doll and suffer a horrible encounter with a dancing corps of rats. The moment of terror is offset by visions of dancing flowers, candies and shimmering snowflakes.

Alycia Powell as the Snow Queen brought beauty and grace to the stage. Though Catherine Brooks appeared only briefly as the dainty Ballerina Doll, a snowflake and a flower, her precision and finesse were notable. Light on his feet was Eric McCutcheon, as he danced the part of the Nutcracker Soldier, and in the Spanish dance.

This rendition of the ballet-with music by Peter Ilych Tschaikovsky, choreography by Leve Ivanov and additional choreography and staging by Teresa Emmons-seemed to get everyone into the holiday spirit.


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