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The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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‘Nutcracker’ choreography mars Christmas masterpiece

After generations of enchanted audiences, The Nutcracker remains a staple of the Christmas season with heart-warming characters and spectacular ballet performances.

As a former ballerina, I danced in the play twice but also enjoy watching The Nutcracker during each holiday season. To my delight, The Sacramento Ballet decided to take part in The Nutcracker season in Fresno four years ago, providing two ballet companies to perform the play for the public at the William Saroyan Theatre.

In the play, a nutcracker comes to life as The Nutcracker Prince who must save a captured Clara from mice.

With exceptional form and air time in his jumps, John Speed Orr played as The Nutcracker Prince. His athleticism in several scenes even left a smile on my face.

However, while the talent in the performance exceeded expectations, the choreography lacked momentum. Artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda seemed to waste valuable music with characters running around the stage instead of putting on a beautiful dance.

While artistic directors in past years included more well-choreographed scenes for the spectacular scores, Cunningham and Binda consented to Dr. Drosselmeyer and Clara racing aimlessly around the stage. It seemed an unfortunate misuse of music.

As a repercussion of the poor dance routines, Richard Porter as the Snow King and Ilana Goldman as Snow Queen forfeited the deserved opportunity to showcase their evident talent because of the choppy and quick-paced movements. Even my favorite ballet position, the fish dive, was ruined due to the sped-up song progression.

Despite these misfortunes, later scenes successfully provided chances for the dancers to display their talent in stunning pieces.

As the Snow King, Porter impressed me with his strength to lift Goldman into statuesque positions during their Arabian duet. He also maintained an impressive point in his foot ? an arch coveted by aspiring dancers around the world. The advantage gave him ideal leg extension for a superb arabesque.

I felt relieved to come across “The Grand Pas de Deux,” as the four consecutive music pieces belonged to The Sugar Plum Fairy, played by Kirsten Bloom, and Her Cavalier, played by Stefan Calka.. The professional talent of both Bloom and Calka allowed me to sit back and enjoy the elegance of the performance. Calka always secured Bloom in his arms when he lifted her into the air and swooped her down in a satisfying fish dive I had waited for ? without ever risking a dropped dancer.

In each of her lengthy pirouettes, Bloom executed the dance sequences with ease. The repeated turns often cause dancers trouble, but her experience lent precision to the movement. The audience welcomed Bloom?s aptitude with generous applause.

Although the performance left me craving the whimsical choreography from previous years, the dancers? proficiency kept a smile on my face as I exited the theater.

I look forward to the next performance of The Nutcracker by Fresno’s Lively Arts Foundation also at the William Saroyan Theatre, Dec. 20-21.

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    Amanda EdwardsAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Paige, I am soooo proud of you!

    I love you girl!

    Reply