Pixel Tracker

Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 3:14 pm | Fair 69º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: State Street Ballet Presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Granada performance Sunday will feature students of Gustafson Dance

Moved by the scenic grandeur and sonic majesty of the renovated Granada, the State Street Ballet is going all out to make this year’s production of The Nutcracker ballet one to cherish and remember.

With music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Rodney Gustafson and Gary McKenzie, and featuring the students of Gustafson Dance, the production concludes with a performance at 2 p.m. Sunday after a pair of shows Saturday.

Tchaikovsky’s music — and the ballet — form such an important part of our Christmas season in the United States, that it’s easy to assume it has always been like that. Yet, as our mental picture of how Christmas ought to look and feel dates back not to the middle ages but to 1843, and the publication of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, so our adoration of The Nutcracker began — not in the 1890s when the ballet was introduced, and not even in 1940 when the complete score was first performed here, but in 1954 when George Balanchine mounted a spectacular production with the New York City Ballet.

After that, there followed, not a gradual acceptance of the work throughout the land, but an instant and total embrace of the ballet — everywhere and by everybody. (My own first classical music record was a 10-inch 78 with the “Waltz of the Flowers” on one side and the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” on the other.)

Borges says there are such things a “necessary monsters,” and I think it’s fair to call The Nutcracker a necessary narrative. The journey to an alternative world, and the return as a changed, better person, is as old a story as story-telling itself.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Divine Comedy and Gulliver’s Travels all tell this story. The modern age has made two significant modifications: 1) Since Alice fell down the rabbit hole, the journey has often been undertaken as a child, as a growing-up episode (Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker is the definitive version of this aspect); and 2) the journey has frequently offered an escape — or temporary relief — from modern and/or adult life. Why we should suddenly start making a ritual pilgrimage to the land where the Mouse King reigns at the height of the Cold War is anybody’s guess.

“I went full of curiosity,” Evelyn Waugh wrote in Brideshead, “and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.”

For many of us, The Nutcracker is just such a door.

Tickets range from $28 to $53 (tickets for children age 12 or younger are $17, with discounts for students and seniors), and are available at The Granada box office at 805.899.2222. Click here to purchase tickets online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.