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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Rendition retains classic ‘Nutcracker’ charm

Amid many performances of the classic story of The Nutcracker at Christmas time, the Lively Arts Foundation adapted an 1816 Hoffman fairy tale version of the play to liven up the holiday season. After thirteen successful seasons, the company, directed by Diane K. Mosier, continues to perform The Mouse Queen’s Revenge, which provides an edgy twist on the production.

The prologue tells the tale of the young Princess Pirlipat, a victim of the Mouse Queen’s enchantment, whom Drosselmeyer and his nephew rescue. In reprisal for the heroic act, the Mouse Queen sets a spell on the nephew, turning him into the Nutcracker Prince.

When the story begins, the Stahlbaum family hosts a Christmas party with friends, including Drosselmeyer. He provides magic entertainment for the group and a Clara doll for Marie Stahlbaum and a Nutcracker doll for her brother Fritz. After a failed trick, however, the Mouse Queen arrives on the scene.

She breaks the Nutcracker doll, and Drosselmeyer sends her away. He bandages and presents the doll to the pleading Marie, making the Nutcracker her prized possession.

After the party, Marie falls asleep on the parlor floor along with her dolls. An army of mice appears and carries her away, issuing in a battle between the Nutcracker General and his soldiers against the Mouse King and his mice. The trusty Nutcracker saves Marie and slays the Mouse King, eliciting an oath of vengeance from the onlooking Mouse Queen.

Following the conflict, the Nutcracker leads Marie into the Land of Snow, where the Snowflake corps and Snow King and Queen perform a beautiful dance. Later in the Kingdom of Sweets, Clara the Sugar Plum Fairy, who turned into a fairy from the doll form, leads Marie to a royal throne for a serenade of candies: various confections, such as Spanish Chocolate and Arabian Coffee, dance for Marie.

The show concludes with the “Grand Pas de Deux,” danced by Clara the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. The show received a generous amount of applause and standing ovation.

Throughout the performance, many scenes, including the aforementioned dances and “The Waltz of the Flowers,” displayed the grace and skill of the young ballet professionals cast in the play. The high level of talent from the local elementary and high school students took my breath away. The numerous dance studios in the Fresno area provide excellent instruction for their young dancers, as evidenced in this performance.

I was especially proud of my old ballet friend, 13-year-old Melissa Wu of Alta Sierra Intermediate, who played the lead role of Marie, as well as the life-sized Clara Doll and Chinese Tea. Her fabulous expertise eclipsed her seemingly young age.

The show also featured experienced guest dancers who had trained at companies such as the San Francisco Ballet School, Ben Stevenson’s Houston Ballet Academy and City Ballet of San Diego.

As a former ballerina in this adaptation within the same company, the performance entertained my familiar eye. I was able to notice sucessful choreography adjustments and even spot out the dress I wore in the fifth grade for the show.

The Lively Arts Foundation’s performance of The Nutcracker paid tribute to Tchaikovsky’s timeless tunes and showcased the delicate beauty of ballet through this Christmas classic.

The show ran from Dec. 20-21 at the William Saroyan Theatre. For more reviews of The Nutcracker and related works, visit the Dec. 12 article, ‘Nutcracker’ choreography mars Christmas masterpiece.

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  • B

    Bianca HinojosaAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    I was so glad to have won 4th place especially since putting in the drawing was last minute. It had taken me about two weeks to draw and I was going to put it in a different art competition but, Mrs. (Sharon) Scharf had decided it would be more appropriate for the Home and Garden Show. Thankfully she was right and I’m glad to have taken home 4th place.

  • J

    Julianne KingAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Bianca, its great to see your beautiful artwork acknowledged!

    Keep it up!

  • M

    Maddie YeeAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Bianca’s artwork is so amazing to look at. God has truly given her the talent for art. I think it was such a great opportunity for her to participate in the competition. Keep up the great work, Bianca!

  • S

    Sharon ScharfAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    This was the first year for the competition- and for Bianca to win 4th place – among all the entries from both high school and COLLEGE students – this was a real honor and accomplishment!

    You did our school proud, Bianca!!!

  • L

    Lisa CamdenAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Wow Bianca, that looks beautiful! Congratualtions on your award. I’m eager to see more of your work!