Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Wilmington Holiday Tradition Gets Thumbs Up from Young Arts Fans

Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance presented
The Nutcracker at The Playhouse on Rodney Square.
Photo courtesy of Wilmington Ballet.
By The Good Girls
The Good Girls appreciate the rich arts scene in Wilmington. Brenda is passionate about volunteering, food, the outdoors and learning tennis. Brynn, a 4th Grader, enjoys horses, traveling, singing and learning to crochet. Brynn's friend Madison joined us for her first theater experience. She is a 1st Grader who likes dancing, playing outside and solving math problems. 

The Nutcracker was presented at The Playhouse on Rodney Square on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, by the Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance in its 60th anniversary year featuring the choreography of Artistic Director Jorge Laico. 

Based on Alexander Dumas’ The Story of the Nutcracker as adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, the production featured the familiar, lively scores of P.I. Tchaikovsky. 

Our seats in the balcony provided a perfect perspective as the story was brought to life on stage in a feast for the eyes, ears and imaginations of children and adults alike.

Brenda enjoyed the warm, nostalgic holiday gathering and dancing of guests in their period garb at the Stahlbaums’ home, where the nutcracker toy was presented to young Clara. After her brother, Fritz, breaks it, Uncle Drosselmeyer bandages it and returns it to Clara, who falls asleep as her dreams unfold before the audience. 

Brynn and her friend Madison pose by the
life-sized gingerbread house in the Hotel du Pont.
The fierce Mouse King and his menacing yet musing minions of dancing mice arrived to fight the Nutcracker. The victorious but exhausted Nutcracker turns into a dashing prince who is transported with Clara to the magical Land of Snow. Madison exclaimed to us that, "...the dance [of the Snow Queen and King and their Snowflakes] was beautiful, and the ballerinas were Hallelujah good!"

Brynn found it challenging that there were no speaking parts (a departure from her prior theater experiences) but appreciated that "...all the kids must have worked so hard to perform the dances so well." Her favorite character was the funny bearded man on stilts in a big dress!

Intermission allowed a visit to the gorgeous, life-size gingerbread house in the Hotel DuPont lobby, intoxicating for the nose and eyes. Mmmmmmmmmm....

As the story resumed, Clara and the Nutcracker arrive in the Land of Sweets, where theater-goers enjoyed the real treat when the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy commanded a festival of dance. Beautiful costumery immersed us in exotic dance numbers from around the globe. Madison said, "...the music gets a thumbs up --- very, very good." and the audience obviously agreed, as they enthusiastically clapped a rhythm for the Ukrainian Trepak dance. Brynn fancied the Waltz of the Flowers with their beautiful floral wreaths. 

Soon, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are sent on their way and Clara reappears sleeping at home by the Christmas tree. Was it all a dream?

See www.wilmingtonballet.org.

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