By Ryan Wallace
With the return of the American Ballet Theater (ABT) to Costa Mesa this holiday season, The Nutcracker is quickly becoming our favorite new SoCal tradition. With a 12 show engagement at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the ABT’s rendition of The Nutcracker has us hypnotized and dreaming of snow-filled scenery and the joy of a Christmas miracle. And what’s more, in this year’s spin on the classic ballet, set to the music of Tchaikovsky, we see talent in various pairs of ABT’s newest primaries.
Co-presented by the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the ABT, The Nutcracker celebrates an on-going relationship between the center and the ballet company, continuing the tradition of elevating the quality of local dance in the SoCal community. Choreographed by ABT’s Artist-in-Residence, Alexei Ratmansky, this interpretation of the holiday classic brings to life a joyous story of youth and imagination, with an equal caliber of ballet, to fulfill the needs of every member in the audience. And with a rotating schedule of seven pairs of primary dancers, audiences can watch the show over and again, with a new interpretation each and every night. For the average family, there’s something in the show for everyone—laughter, awe, even dramatic plot twists, as toys and tots become the heroes and villains of this dream-like ballet.
In last Saturday’s evening performance we had the pleasure of seeing primaries Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside take the lead in the roles of Clara, the Princess and Nutcracker, the Prince. And while I have seen the show a number of times, I can personally say that this pairing is one of my favorites! Gillian Murphy is effortless, and with a lot of experience under Ratmansky’s direction, the Corps de Ballet has refined his choreography to suit their individual inspirations. Together the ABT’s dancers old and new, with a few honorary roles for members of the ABT William J. Gillespie School, are brilliantly entertaining and worthy of several visits during this week-long engagement!
Want to find out more? Check out the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ website for more information, or purchase your tickets at the door. With only a handful of performances left, you won’t want to miss out on the best holiday tradition around!
Visit www.scfta.org for showtimes!