Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 4:27 am | Overcast 59º


A New Twist to an Old Favorite

State Street Ballet's 'NutCracker' steps out with a fresh perspective and a retro look.


State Street Ballet brought its sophisticated take on The Nutcracker to the Lobero Theatre over the weekend, delighting full houses of dressed-up children and their amused parents. This NutCracker (the spelling the ballet company uses) bears little resemblance to the standard Sugar-Plum-Fairy-ized one most people grew up with. Clara is an indulged teenager whose father owns a Hollywood studio, and the setting is the 1930s, replete with Art Deco sets and costumes in period moderne.{mosimage}

Furthermore, the dances rang witty changes on the Petipa-Ivanov choreography, beloved but ancient. The new choreography was created by company founder and artistic director Rodney Gustafson and ballet master Gary MacKenzie.

All the Hollywood touches were there. Clara, sweetly portrayed by Terez Dean, and Drosslemeyer, danced by Ryan Camou with panache, spun magic with the doll-sized Nutcracker, his Christmas present to her. And Shane Tice was wonderful as the transformed Nutcracker-tall, dashing and courtly. Allison Matoon was a hoot as "Cruella de Mille," the witchy movie siren who does all she can to hurt the Nutcracker, and by extension the young heroine.

Doing double duty was the company’s character danseur, Sergei Domrachev. The Russian-born Domrachev was trained by the Perm Ballet Academy and has the technique to prove it. He showed sharp acting skills as both Clara’s bratty little brother and a doddering but determined Mae West in the second act. Mae West in this production fills for the traditional Mother Ginger, and Domrachev was accompanied by a platoon of bouncy children from Gustafson Dance.

Other standouts included Mirlitons Sarah Fuhrman, Katie McDermott, Angela Rebelo and Christine Sawyer, Arabian dancers Bayaraa Badamsambuu and Leila Drake, Chinese couple John Christopher Piel and Jennifer Rowe, and Sugar Plum Fairy Victoria Luchkina.

No Nutcracker would be complete without the battle between the hero and the villainous army of mice. Here, the mice are superhuman-sized gray rats, clad in purple zoot suits. To the delight of the children in the audience, these sinister figures were quickly dispatched. The zoot-suited ones were danced by Bayaraa Badamsambuu, Ray Camacho, Sergei Domrachev, Steven Jasso and Christine Sawyer.

Also worthy of praise are Mark Somerfield, production and lighting design; Daniel Nyiri, set design, and Mary Etta Lang, costumes.

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • 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.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >