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.

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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.

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