Wondrously choreographed and directed by Dianna Cuatto, Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s production of “The Nutcracker” is spirited after the original, including the classic composition by Tchaikovsky. This performance is artfully presented in poetic motion, pleasing to audiences of all ages. It’s refreshing to see BTM took on the challenge of producing this classic holiday spectacle. Whether one is truly familiar with ballet or not, the timeless story of “The Nutcracker” comes to life and is sure to hypnotize and dazzle those experiencing it for the first time. Judging by the amount of very small youngsters in attendance, I’m willing to bet it was a first for many who came to the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.
…nothing short of brilliant.
This was a fast-paced performance with a cyclonic display of bold colors, charming props, and of course some incredibly splendid dancing. I was impressed with the ensemble of dancers of all sizes, from the sugarplum fairies to the Russian lead and sides, the motion and flow of the tale was enchanting. The beautiful storytelling in dance truly brought the 19th century ballet to life from the onset as youngsters gathered around the delightfully decorated Silberhaus Christmas tree.
With no real dialogue to follow, one has to focus on the actions of the ensemble, and there is a lot of dancing and movement. However, there is a narrative, and Cuatto uses leads in the ensemble to carry the dramatics of the story, especially for the difficult fluctuations, like the Arabian and Spanish duets and the Russian dance, for sure. These seem to always impress the likes of people like me. However, it is easy to see the children cast were equally a crowd pleaser. The youngest dancers undoubtedly stole the show with their impeccable timing and superb awareness of every calculated move. Sure the giant rats were a bit loud in their jostling for attention, but the small ones were too cute, especially in their epic battle scene.
I felt humbled and in awe of this performance. The gravitational pull of emotions and feelings enveloped in the conspicuous details discernable in the particulars of this ballet made me ponder the magic of real life. It’s likely why “The Nutcracker” is such a staple for Christmas festivities year after year. Not for the hyperbole of the presentation, but for the essence of the real world it portrays in dance and subtlety. Therefore, well deserved credit needs to go to director/choreographer/set designer Dianna Cuatto, wardrobe extraordinaire Christine Lilly (along with seamstresses Kimberly Metzer, Karissa Kralik, and Karen Kralik), lighting designer Stacie Johnon-Leske and set painting magicians Grosh Backdrops andDrapery.
Overall, the BTM presentation of “The Nutcracker,” as enormous of a task it appeared to be, was nothing short of brilliant. All the dancers moved so fluidly and beautifully choreographed, it was quite the extravaganza to experience. Take everyone in the family, from the tiny ones to the reluctant ones, because it’s something everyone will enjoy and remember for years to come.
Running Time: approximately 2 hours with one intermission.
“The Nutcracker” presented by Ballet Theatre of Maryland is showing now at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts until December 16, 2018. For informationand tickets, please visit their website by clicking here.