With Visions of Sugarplums - A Wonderful Night at the Ballet!
Ella Ashton and Melissa Bacakoglu, aged 14, went along to see the Nutcrackers at the beautiful Grand Theatre - here's what they thought!
The ballet began with kids running around an animated Christmas tree on a big screen and their parents were looking very well dressed going to the ball - very festive and exciting.
Different dolls which were toys, took their turn showcasing their styles of dancing trying to catch the kids' attention. All were individually dressed in character but it was the Jester who got our attention with his colourful costume and his unbelievably high repetitive jumps! Wow!
The toys were put away but the Toymaker had one more toy which only Clara, the principal character, wanted - the Nutcracker.
The Christmas tree started to grow, the clock struck midnight and Clara clutching her beloved toy, fell asleep and started to dream. She became the size of the toys and looked so petite.
A group of mice started to attack Clara and the Nutcracker. They escaped, and then the Nutcracker turned into a Prince before the pair walked into the Pine Forest. The scene here had snowflakes all around, which looked amazing in this magical theatre.
Clara’s performance drew you into the character, which told the story so well and she made the dancing look effortless. When she and the partner danced together, the pointe work and lifts were performed with such ease, control and perfection showing the trust and ability that they both had. Every move was in time with the live orchestra who were also brilliant. In fact, the music sometimes sent us into a daydream and we imagined us being there (especially when it came to the part where Clara was in The Land of Sweets!).
In this section, we enjoyed watching the Arabian coffee duo seamlessly transitioning from leg lifts into splits, but it was the China tea cups that made us laugh and was our highlight.
The mice weren’t as scary as perhaps they could have been, and we found it a bit more difficult to follow the story in places, but the dancers of the Russian State Ballet definitely gave a fairytale performance whilst the principle dancers classically danced their variation and pas de deux sections flawlessly.
The fairy-tale ended when Clara awoke from her dream and showed delight when she saw her beloved Nutcraker Toy in front of the Christmas tree. As she ran to pick him up to give him a huge loving hug, the curtain fell and the theatre burst into applause. We loved it!
Images: Raymond Gubbay