Dance Arts Los Alamos (DALA) is excited and proud to present its 16th production of The Nutcracker as part of Los Alamos’ Winterfest Weekend. The ballet opened Thursday. Further performances will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Duane Smith Auditorium.
Tickets are being sold in advance at CB FOX in Los Alamos and Smith’s Food and Drug Centers in White Rock, as well as at the door. Prices are $15 for adults 18-59, and $10 for children ages 4-17 and adults aged 60 and older.
First performed in 1892, The Nutcracker did not gain popularity outside of Russia until the 1940s. Tchaikovsky’s timeless score combined with Petipa’s original choreography is now the most popular ballet performed in the world.
Countless interpretations of the holiday classic exist. There are art-deco Nutcrackers, circus-themed Nutcrackers, all-male Nutcrackers and hip hop Nutcrackers to name a few of the themes and twists.
Even the protagonists may not be the same. Marie, Clara or Masha are different names for essentially the same character, a little girl who has a dream on Christmas Eve. In some ballets she is a young dancer in ballet slippers, in other productions she is an adult in pointe shoes, but her fantastic journey to the Kingdom of Sweets remains the same.
Although Dance Arts Los Alamos’ production of The Nutcracker does not include gimmicks, it does offer beautiful dancing to a beloved score, telling a timeless and cherished tale. Changes and updates to the choreography, scenery and costumes ensure that audiences will continue to be delighted by The Nutcracker’s magic.
This year’s production is unique in other ways, as well. Jonathan Guise joined DALA as director in Sept. 2013. He has brought his creative vision and compelling choreography to the classic ballet, breathing new life into this beloved holiday classic.
Guise directs a cast of more than 120 dancers from ages five to adult. Hayley Manges from Moving People Dance, and Bryan Jenkins, currently dancing with BalletMet, join the cast as guest artists performing in the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Wes Jansen, also from Moving People Dance is performing as the Snow King
Perhaps the best loved tradition that The Nutcracker provides is the recognition of exceptionally kind and giving community members by casting them as “Mother Gingers.” This year, Ken Nebel, director of Fuller Lodge Art Center, Gerry Washburn, assistant superintendent of Los Alamos Public School, Dr., Gene Schmidt, superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools and Dr. Ben Neal from the Los Alamos Children’s Clinic will all take turns donning a wig, full makeup and climbing into a towering dress that houses six adorable young clowns. Their performances are not to be missed!
DALA would also like to recognize Lauren Burr, Renee D’Andrea and Louisa Singleton, who are graduating seniors at Los Alamos High School this year. Singleton is performing as the evil Rat Queen in the battle against the Nutcracker. D’Andrea dances as the Snow Queen, opposite Wes Jansen’s Snow King. Burr is performing as the Rose Queen in “The Waltz of the Flowers.” DALA thanks all three dancers for their hard work and congratulates them on their performances.