Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Nutcracker - A Trini Christmas continued

It seems that every year in December the city goes just a little crazy. One couldn't take more than a few steps without running into a billboard, sign or flyer dedicated to The Nutcracker. From just around the end of November through year end, it's suddenly "hey, go see The Nutcracker, it's at the Fox, did you see it yet?"

I've been meaning to see it, really I have, but life, finances and former sweethearts not keen on going always got in the way. Not to mention that getting tickets often required nothing short of ritual sacrifice.....but that was a bygone era, before Groupon.

Let me explain something to you fine folk, if you can find the time to do nothing else each Christmas, make it your business to come see this. In the span of two hours, I was made to regret not having seen this each of my eleven years an Atlanta resident. I also regret not taking the youngster with me either, everywhere I looked, whole families present.

Atlanta Ballet's The Nutcracker
I may be no expert on interpretive dance, but from my layman's perspective, the performances were spellbinding. The choreography had a rhythm that when combined with the musical score, created an effect that was enchanting, almost magical. The costumes, though unique and imaginative, still maintained the classic Nutcracker look. What I liked most was despite the lack of dialogue, the audience was still able to experience at various points, the emotional depth evident in the story.

There  were times of joyful celebration, youthful exuberance, other times a sense of foreboding and fear, I remember feeling a knot in my stomach in the lead up to the Rat King's appearance.

Obviously because of the lack of dialogue, some familiarity with the story is needed lest you be totally lost. The ballet still lacked that bourgeois element that normally accompanies productions of this nature in that there were more than a few instances of genuine comedy resulting in raucous laughter. Many of the performers also engaged their audience throughout which really left us with a sense that we were all part of something truly extraordinary.

As one might imagine, Atlanta Ballet's production isn't the only Nutcracker outfit in town. Atlanta-based African American dance company Ballethnic has been staging it's immensely popular Urban Nutcracker at Georgia Tech's Robert Ferst Center for the Arts for more than a decade. I'd actually seen it twice during my Morehouse College days as well as another production of theirs called A Leopard's Tale. The Gwinnett Ballet also stages it's own production which it has apparently been doing for thirty two years.

Theatre isn't always on the bucket list for the average islander family at Christmas especially when there's ham and black cake to be had; but perhaps it's time we try something a little different. Next week I'll talk about Alliance Theatre's A Christmas Carol which I also saw this past Christmas. be continued.


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