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.

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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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