The Rat Queen (Louisa Singleton) top, and her minions. Photo by Dana D’Andrea
“The Nutcracker” is a fixture in Los Alamos. Watching the ballet Friday night, I could not think of a better way to kick off the holidays.
This is Dance Arts Los Alamos’ 16th “Nutcracker.” The ballet depicts a young girl who dreams about a journey into the Land of Sweets on Christmas Eve. This year, DALA brought on a new director, Jonathan Guise, and some new features were mixed into the show.
A few new characters were introduced and a couple of scenes were added. Also, the ballet got a fresher look with new costumes. There’s nothing radical about the new touches. Rather, the new features will make you pay a little more attention and appreciate what you are watching.
Believe me, there is a lot to admire. Everyone, from the little dancers who jump out from underneath Mother Ginger’s skirt to Grandfather and Grandmother Stahlbaum, who bust into some unexpected moves on the dance floor, do a wonderful job.
My personal highlights were the exotic Arabian dance, the fiery Spanish dance, and the sweet performance by the Snow King and Queen.
Recognition needs to be paid to featured dancers, which include high school seniors Lauren Burr, Louisa Singleton and Renee D’Andrea, who light up the stage. In addition, guest dancers Wes Jansen, Hayley Manges and Bryan Jenkins are dynamite. Jenkins, as the Cavalier, in particular, practically steals the show with his beautiful movements.
It is not just the dancing that is strong in this production. The new costumes are beautiful as well. I loved all the sparkle and the candy-colored tutus in the second act.
As you gear up to celebrate the holidays, make “The Nutcracker” part of the festivities. It is definitely a tradition that needs to continue.
Dance Arts Los Alamos’s “The Nutcracker” will be performed at 2 p.m. today and Sunday at Duane Smith Auditorium. Tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for individuals 60 or older, as well as children age 4-17.