Review: Maine State Ballet Delights Audiences with Return of “The Nutcracker”
After a year online, the Big Fluffy Mice are back, not to mention dozens of professional and student artists, offering audiences in person the chance to experience another highly entertaining Maine State Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.”
The famous story of the young girl whose gift of a nutcracker takes her on a magical journey, from a house full of animated toys to a forest of glittering Christmas trees and a candy palace, is told at through burlesque, pantomime and, above all, glorious dance.
The many young viewers in attendance at the opening performance were quietly captivated by the show, especially when they got to see their peers engage in the first scene of the Christmas party and later in several ensemble moments. spectacular.
Missing 45e The Maine State Ballet’s annual production is the live orchestra and vocal choir that have added sweeping to the procedure in previous years. Tchaikovsky’s recording, however, is always moving, especially when the composer’s familiar lyrical lines are visually developed in the choreography of Linda MacArthur Miele of the Maine State Ballet (with a nod to the great George Balanchine).
Several main roles will be shared during the brief run of this production. In the opening performance, seasoned young company member Emma Davis played the role of Clara, who grows up a bit as she travels with her prince (Trevor Seymour) after her group of toy soldiers have defeated those invasive but still cute mice. Davis’s partnership with Seymour created the requisite sense of wonder and added just a touch of the sparkle of a first-time romance.
After loud and increasingly imaginative opening scenes, Act I ends with a shimmering “Snowflake Dance”, a magnificent moment with special effects of falling snow and subtle lighting by David Herrman adding an additional dazzling to the dance.
Gail Csoboth’s costumes are surprisingly detailed and emphasize both the elegance and ethnic touches that emerge from the choreography of the various entertainments in Act II. These passages were uniformly entertaining with several dance soloists standing out in brief moments focused in the center of the stage.
Jessica Bartlett sweetened an appearance for “Chocolate from Spain” with a few well-executed tricks. Curvy Adrienne Pelletier drew oohs and aahs from the crowd as she teamed up with Glenn Davis in a revealing “Coffee from Arabia.” Caitlin Bodlovick, as Mother Ginger, tried hard not to be overshadowed by her “Little Ribbon Candies”. And Elizabeth Chadbourne delightedly led the “Marzipan Shepherdesses”.
Arie Eiten’s “Russian Cossack” whirled and hopped around a cheering group of followers while Rhiannon Pelletier was a fluid dewdrop for the “Flower Waltz”. Julia Lopez and Michael Hamilton, as Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, put the elegant finishing touch to the performance with their “Grand Pas de Deux” achieving a delicate synthesis of sensitive partnership.
As the little reindeer finally attracted Clara, the curtain rose on another uplifting production of the Maine State Ballet’s annual vacation treat.
Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.
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