By: Cynthia Kennedy
Photographs by: Patrick Kennedy
Christmas traditions are wonderful to create for small children, as well as to recreate for adults. The Nutcracker Ballet has been a Christmas tradition for over 100 years. It was first performed in 1892, at the Marinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, conducted by its creator, Peter Tchaikovsky.
The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, the resident ballet company of the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, will be performing the story of Clara, and the nutcracker she receives as a Christmas gift, Friday, Dec. 7th through Sunday, Dec. 9th, 2018 at the center. Laura Jackson, Music Director of the Reno Philharmonic, will conduct a 43 piece orchestra, showcasing this classic work of Tchaikovsky.
The A.V.A.’s cast of dancers features dozens of local children, as well as principle dancers from renowned ballet companies drawn from across the country. All are impressive with their interpretation of the characters, from Clara and the Nutcracker, to scheming little mice, gingerbread soldiers, snowflakes, flowers, sweets, international dancers, and the captivating Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy. Alexander Van Alstyne, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s, Artistic Director, has beautifully choreographed this enchanting story and it’s truly amazing to see the love and artistry with which it’s enthusiastically performed.
The curtain opens on a wintery evening, and guests are making their way through falling snow to a Victorian home in the distance. The parents are carrying gifts, with their children excited at the prospect of a festive evening. Even their dog is anxious to get there. Upon arriving, they’re ushered into a crimson salon, where a huge Christmas tree is surrounded by presents.
Alexander Van Alstyne, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s, Artistic Director, has beautifully choreographed this enchanting story and it’s amazing to see the love and artistry with which it’s enthusiastically performed.
The old toymaker, Herr Drosselmeyer, arrives with dolls for the girls, and toy horns for the boys, but he has a special present for Clara — a Nutcracker. In the night, after the guests have left and Clara’s gone to sleep, the magic begins as the Nutcracker comes to life, and an adventure unfolds that takes them both through a mighty battle, to the forest of the Snow Queen and on to the Land of Sweets, where an entire extravaganza of performers from around the world dance for Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.
The exciting night concludes with a waltz performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy, who then escorts Clara and the Prince from their thrones. Clara waves goodbye to all her new friends as she leaves in her magical white sleigh, concluding a night of Christmas dreams.
The love of the Nutcracker story and music is universal. From the first note of the overture, to the Waltz of the Snowflakes, the character dances of Chocolate (Spanish), Coffee (Arabian), Tea (Chinese), and The Trepek (Russian), as well as the Waltz of the Flowers and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, you’ll be taken back to your childhood, creating lasting Christmas memories for your own children or grandchildren.
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Nutcracker performances: Friday, December 7th, at 8 pm, Saturday, December 8th, at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday, December 9th, at 2 pm at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Reno. Ticket prices are $27 to $60 with discounts for seniors and children.
For tickets call the Pioneer Center box office at 1-866-553-6605 or online at pioneercenter.com.
For a special treat, take your children to the Sugar Plum Party which will be held after the Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances. There, they’ll meet the Nutcracker performers!
The Nutcracker Cast of Main Characters: