chicago’s nutcracker

Midwest Living - - Out & About -

Other cities have de­vel­oped their own vari­a­tions on The Nutcracker. What does Chicago’s do best? The bril­liant part is to see some­thing that speaks di­rectly to the Chicago au­di­ence. The World’s Fair paired with The Nutcracker makes com­plete sense with its props, mag­i­cal as­pects and trans­for­ma­tions.

I also like how this per­for­mance makes a full cir­cle of the story. Ev­ery­one wants a great end­ing and wants to see the un­der­dog achieve hap­pi­ness, and we’ve got that. Hav­ing the story be proper to Chicago makes it even bet­ter.

What does this new ver­sion re­quire of you as a per­former? When you are the lead dancer, every per­son on stage is wait­ing for you to hit the ex­act spot, un­lock the cur­tain a cer­tain way, be in the lights at a cer­tain point. The Great Im­pre­sario is a key char­ac­ter that moves the story for­ward, and danc­ing [the role] is also very chal­leng­ing from a tech­ni­cal as­pect. Christopher did not give space for mis­takes. There are a lot of tech­ni­cal ex­e­cu­tions, and if they do not go well, the cur­tain must go down.

With stakes so high, how do you en­sure that those tech­ni­cal ex­e­cu­tions go well?

The Great Im­pre­sario has to re­veal the nutcracker doll in a par­tic­u­lar way for the au­di­ence to see it. So I have a rou­tine be­fore every show. First I check the nutcracker. The scarf that cov­ers it is a silky, slip­pery fab­ric. I have to wrap and fold the cloth just right so when I grab it on­stage [pan­tomimes], the fab­ric pulls clear. I have four sec­onds to re­veal the nutcracker. They’re fast move­ments, all done while danc­ing, and the dancer has to get it right every time.

How should au­di­ences ap­proach the new pro­duc­tion to fully en­joy it? Come to the per­for­mance with an open mind, be­cause this is a dif­fer­ent story. It is re­lated to the orig­i­nal bal­let, but it’s not the same. If you hold on to the old ver­sion of The Nutcracker, you won’t ex­pe­ri­ence the new story. And if you have a set mind prior to the show, ex­pect­ing some­thing, you might be dis­ap­pointed. You need to come with an open mind to see some­thing new—a Chicago Nutcracker with a dif­fer­ent, fresh look.

An Ara­bian dance of­fers a hyp­no­tiz­ing break in a show that packs its stage with dancers per­form­ing to in­tense mu­si­cal scores.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.