Bringing The Nutcracker To Life
Aurora Dickie will be playing Clara in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, the holiday season’s most popular ballet. Solveig Steinhardt went to the Staatsballett rehearsal studios to have a chat with her.
Why is the Nutcracker such a holiday show? Because it happens in the winter; it’s a Christmas story. And it portrays the holiday spirit very well. A family receives friends at home, exchange presents, and then there’s the snow scene. It’s such a wintery scenario, very fulfilling and warming. That sounds like a show children would like. Yes. There are a lot of children on stage, so it’s easy for the kids in the audience to identify with them. The Nutcracker plays a lot with fantasy and magic. There are dolls and a “land of sweets,” and these are very appealing themes for kids. What is your favorite scene? The snow scene. It comes right after the battle scene, in which the rats fight against the soldiers to a very powerful music. All of a sudden, Clara thinks the Nutcracker is dead, but he’s not. There’s a change of scenery, and they find themselves in the forerst. The music for this pas de deux is just magical. It is my favorite music in The Nutcracker. This is also where I come in, as it’s the first scene where Clara is a grownup. In the previous scenes, Clara is played by a child who is a student here at the academy. Do you think it’s easy to understand, or do you have to know the story? It’s good to know the story in advance, but once you’ve understood that it’s a Christmas show, it’s very easy to follow the plot. You don’t have to be a ballet expert to understand what’s going on in The Nutcracker. Which also makes the show a great place to start for those who have never seen a ballet before. Tell us a bit about you became a ballerina. I was born in Brazil and my mom was a dancer, so I pretty much started dancing at home. She taught me until I was about 11, then I went to the Bolshoi school in Brazil (which is affiliated with the Bolshoi in Moscow), where I trained daily throughout my teenage years. It was very challenging, and I had to give up a lot, from going out with friends to staying at home, but in the end it was very rewarding. I started working for small ballet companies in Brazil, and then joined the ballet company in Washington, D.C. I spent six years there before moving to Berlin a few months ago.
How do you like the city? Berlin has a very warm audience – and an educated one, too. They like and understand what they see. I also like what I’ve seen of the city, although our schedule is very tough, with daily rehearsals from 10am to 6pm at least, so I haven’t had much time to get around yet. The Nutcracker plays on 15, 16, 25, 26, 29, 30 Dec, Deutsche Oper (p. 60).
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