Invasion of the Sugar Plums

- November 29, 2011

"It’s Nutcracker time again..."

        From Boston to San Diego, New York to Seattle and Chicago to Houston, they come in waves: Sugar plums, battling mice, marching soldiers, waltzing snowflakes. It’s Nutcracker time again.

        It seems like only yesterday that we were sitting with our children or grandchildren watching and listening to the odyssey of young Clara as she moves from the safety of her parents home and holiday party, through the portal of Herr Drosselmeyer’s magic and her dreams to the Land of the Sweets and back. And yet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production is here again this weekend.

        At the outset I have to confess an incongruous attitude towards this holiday treasure. On the one hand, I hope never again to be in the pit for another performance of this enduring work, having been there for over 350 performances as a percussionist or conductor. Yet, on the other hand, The Nutcracker has always been central to my holiday season.  So here we go again…Dah,D,D,D, Da, Da, Da, Da Daah – Dah,D,D,D, Da, Da, Da, Da Daah.

        We all (at least the adults) know the story. Yet it never ceases to amaze. And every company that performs it, or has done so in the past, has its own take on the look and feel of it all. From Marius Petipa, the choreographer of the original production at the Imperial Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1892, through Balanchine’s first performance of the complete ballet in 1954 with the New York City Ballet, to the radical performances staged by Mikail Baryshnikov and beyond, this ballet has had an enduring quality that ignores its age.

        With visions of sugarplum fairies, handsome princes and courageous soldiers, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's The Nutcracker is full of childlike wonder. Your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will marvel at the magic of this sumptuous production with its magnificent sets, dazzling dancing and cast of 60 dancers, actors and circus artists.

        Every holiday season we have an opportunity through The Nutcracker to create lifelong memories for ourselves and our loved ones. Enjoy!

        With performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 3, and at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on December 4, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet brings this holiday treat to the Lensic. Tickets at www.ticketssantafe.org