Being an Emerson student is about including art in the everyday. As ‘everyday’ becomes holidays, there is no shortage of cheery, seasonal performances to choose from. While it may be tempting to ditch the classics and forge new traditions, this year’s Nutcracker from Boston Ballet makes a case for top priority.
Since its world premiere in 1892, The Nutcracker has graced thousands of stages around the globe. Its Sugar Plum Fairies and Drosselmeiers have been performed with grace and precision, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless melodies never lose their charm. The talent that makes up Boston Ballet’s dance roster is undoubtedly commendable, but that is not what sets this Nutcracker apart.
The star of the show, and perhaps the main reason for its unique sparkle, was in fact never on stage. Costume and set designer Robert Perdziola envisioned and executed a delightful arrangement of costumes that truly became the focus of the evening. In a mix of clever adaptation and masterful construction, Perdziola reinvigorated the ballet you thought you had seen before. The life-like face of the giant bear and miniature curly-coated sheep costumes for the child performers brought on a ripple of polite laughter throughout the audience. Giant mice were somehow made endearing, also in part to the lighthearted choreography, without forfeiting realistic accuracy. Perdziola’s talents shone most brightly, however, during the snow scene. Before breaking for intermission, the stage glittered with iridescent snowfall atop the bejeweled ivory tutu of Ashley Ellis’s Snow Queen.
Nissinen ensured the amusement of the entire opera house with his comedic tone for many of the characters. Most notably, his portrayal of the mice posing under spotlight had spunk and didn’t take itself too seriously—although it may be worth mentioning that the mice dancers should have. A few of the dancers missed their marks quite obviously, but made up for it with their charming antics. Soloist Ji Young Chae was flawless in her portrayal of Drosselmeier’s gift of the ballerina doll, a moment that is sure to stick in the mind of all in attendance.
Emerson students can revel in Boston Ballet’s delightful twist on the classic holiday ballet this Tuesday, December 8 when they host a Nutcracker Study Break Night at the Boston Opera House. Student rush tickets are available 2 hours before the show for $25 and include a free Boloco gift card. Merchandise will be discounted 10% with a valid student ID.
This post appeared originally in a December 2015 blog post for YourMag Emerson.