Jazzing up the ‘Nutcracker’
December 11, 2004
They’ve put it on ice, translated it into foreign tongues, and added all kinds of bizarre elements to try to liven it up. But for those who think of Tchaikovsky’s classic “The Nutcracker Suite” as some sort of requisite holiday punishment or, worse, have smirkingly tried to justify nodding off during the production as some type of synergistic identification with the character Clara as she falls asleep with the Nutcracker in her arms, there is new hope on the horizon.
While watching “The Nutcracker” can be like witnessing a dreamy fireworks display way off in the distance, “The Nutcracker: All Jazz’d Up” is like waking up in the center ring of a busy circus.
It’s an incredible spectacle that stunningly seduces the senses.
Director Sandi Scheer elaborates on the differing elements of magic that go into the production: “It’s not just a ballet,” she says. “We include jazz, tap, lyrical numbers, acrobatics, tumbling, techno music.”
The mixture is magical.
It’s part ballet, part Cirque du Soleil.
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The story is the same. It’s still Christmas at the Stahlbaum home. Guests arrive, and Clara (played by Cheyenne Kaiser) receives a nutcracker from Herr Drosselmeyer (Darin Tedford). Her jealous brother, Fritz, grabs the nutcracker and breaks it. Once Herr Drosselmeyer fixes it and the children go to sleep, she’s transported into her Christmas fantasy, enlivened by the Cavalier (Gilbert Navarro), the Nutcracker Prince (Rey Barcena), the Sugarplum Fairy (Rebecca Jolly) and the Kingdom of Sweets.
Jolly, 15, has been dancing for 10 years, and wants to join a dance company in the future. “I think if people come out and see it, they will really be surprised,” she said. “There are a lot of different types of dancers and dances. There is something for everyone, young and old.”
The show features all-new costumes, new props and new sets, according to Scheer.
Costume chief Sharon Ezelle makes last-minute repairs to some of the 250 costumes.
More than 80 dancers in jazz, reggae, rock, lyrical and tap crowd the downtown studio at danceSpirit for rehearsal. This modern version features dancers ranging in age from 3 to 83.
Funded by the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, the number adds spice to the traditional Sugarplum Fairy, turning a pageant of careful movement and grace into a riot of color and incredible talent that will interest even the most cynically overdosed members of the audience.
The production also features fifth-year cast members Kenzie Tillitt, Callen Aten, Tara Rispin, Linsey Wegener and Emma Wegener and guest artists from Los Angeles, Calif., Barcena and Navarro.
Choreographers include Scheer, Staci Flatness, Robin Kato, Robin Price and Cathy Nelson.
Contact reporter Peter Thompson at email@example.com or 881-1215.
IF YOU GO
What: “The Nutcracker:
All Jazz’d Up”
When: 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.
Cost: $16 adults; $10 children 11 and under and seniors; $45 for families of 4 (2 adults and 2 children or seniors)
Call: 884-1066, reserved seating only.