Dance Arts Los Alamos’ (DALA) 2015 ‘Nutcracker on the Hill’. Courtesy/DALA
Dance Arts Los Alamos’ (DALA) 2015 “Nutcracker on the Hill” was a smash hit. The classic Tchaikovsky’s score was mixed with Los Alamos’ history, which produced a show completely unique to the community.
“Nutcracker on the Hill” returns this year but continues to add new twists to this popular holiday ballet. The first being Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan will take on the role of Oppenheimer.
“I decided to take a shot in the dark,” DALA Artistic Director Jonathan Guise explained. He emailed McMillan’s secretary and asked if he would like to be a part of the show. Guise said McMillan had past experience with DALA’s “Nutcracker.” Six or seven years ago, he portrayed Mother Ginger.
Having the current laboratory director take on the role of the first director has been a great experience, Guise said. “It’s been fun. It’s been interesting.”
So just how great are McMillan’s dancing capabilities? Guise assured the laboratory director can, in fact, cut a rug. “He’s very good. He picked it up quickly. He’s doing great.” McMillan is actually dancing with Guise’s wife, who is an experienced dancer. Guise said he is excited for the community to see McMillan’s performance as well as the rest of the show.
Besides McMillan as a member of the cast, Guise said he changed the start of the ballet. In addition to the classical ballet choreography, he threw in some disco dancing and hip-hop to add “some spice” to the opening scene which portrays the Christmas party held in 1945.
Additionally, the Russian dance number includes couple dancing rather than just all boys.
McMillan will not be the only notable dancer on the stage; professional dancer Robert Miller Moore will perform as the Cavalier.
Guise said the community’s response to DALA’s creation has been heart warming. Last year, members of the audience revealed they were either at the Christmas party held in Los Alamos in 1945 or they knew attendees at the party.
Guise added he enjoyed showing another side of wartime Los Alamos – one that didn’t involve the world war or the Manhattan Project but its fun, light-hearted side.
DALA’s production will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday as well as 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Duane Smith Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for children age 4-18 and seniors age 60 and older. They can be purchased online at http://www.danceartslosalamos.org as well as at CB FOX, Uli’s and at the door.