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Snowflakes hit the floor as a young Prince reaches for the hand of young Clara. When their hands meet to ensue to dance, the once innocent young girl and boy transform into the passionate Prince and Princess that magnetize the audience. The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa was a show to entice the entire family. Mischievous mice wreaked havoc as cotton candy tutus twirled and dazzled guests. Orange County brought forth the winter wonderland that everyone this holiday season dreamed for.
Choreographed by American Ballet Theatre’s Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, set to a score by Peter IIyitch Tchaikovsky, scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and performed live by Pacific Symphony, The Nutcracker has 14 performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, December 10-20, 2015. The Center’s commitment to supporting artistic excellence engages the entire community through its powerful performances. Their unique and innovative approach to their programs attracts audiences of all ages.
“We are so pleased to introduce a new Orange County holiday tradition by presenting American Ballet Theatre’s prestigious and acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. This ballet bolds a very special place in the hearts and memories of audiences and will continue to inspire a new generation of dance fans. And we are especially thrilled that students from our ABT William J. Gillespie School will share the stage with the celebrated ABT dancers.” stated Center President Terrence W. Dwyer.
Expanding their 27-year relationship, Segerstrom Center of the Arts and American Ballet Theatre created the American Ballet Theatre Gillespie School, which opened September 2015 for ages 3-14. The holiday classic premiered 35 young dancers from the school. The children’s innocent candor in The Nutcracker brought a sense of humor to the elegance on stage. Chase Rogers, age 11, played the role of the renowned Little Mouse. ACT 1, Scene 1, The Kitchen, opens with the Stahlbaum family, chefs, and housekeepers on Christmas Eve preparing for the family’s annual holiday party. Once the room is empty, naughty mice appear looking for scraps. The center of attention was Little Mouse with his booty shakes at the audience and ruckus demeanor. Rogers’ praise was collective with the other talented children of the show, including the Little Fairies, Party Children, and Toy Soldiers. Talent came of all different sizes for these dedicated and gifted dancers.
The Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Act II, was the highlight of the performance. When the Sugar Plum Fairy learns of Clara’s bravery in killing the King Mouse, the Fairy orders a festival to honor her, featuring dances from around the world. The beautiful array of culturally influenced dances awed and enthralled the spectators. From Russian to Spanish enthused choreography, each number was visually fascinating. The celebration came to an end and young Clara was granted her greatest Christmas wish of becoming an exquisite Princess to dance in the arms of her Nutcracker Prince. Gillian Murphy (Princess) and Marcelo Gomes (Nutcracker Prince) were the perfect ballet duet. As the crowd roared with applause, they also rubbed their eyes due to the lack of blinking. This was truly a breathtaking routine and attendees did not want to miss a thing from the pair’s whimsical movements.
Orange County just got a lot more magical this Christmas season and locals should flock to Segerstrom Center for the Arts to witness the enchantment unfold before their own eyes. Tickets start at $29 and are available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. Christmas just came early.