Think of it as the Cliff Notes version of ‘The Nutcracker’ |

Think of it as the Cliff Notes version of ‘The Nutcracker’

Sam Bauman
Entertainment Editor
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dancers rehearse for the upcoming performance of "The Peanutcracker - The Story in a Nutshell" at the Sierra Nevada Ballet studio in Carson City.

“The Nutcracker” ballet, performed to music by Tchaikovsky, is undoubtedly the most popular ballet in America.

Every Christmas season, it is presented by ballet companies around the U.S. with varying degrees of success. Often it stars dancers from the most professional companies available. We’ve had several presentations of the ballet in Carson City this holiday season.

“The Nutcracker” is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by German E.T.A. Hoffman. Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same. It’s a story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads.

When Marius Petipa had the idea to choreograph the story into a ballet, it was actually based on a revision by Alexander Dumas, a well-known French author. His version reflects more of what we have come to love as “The Nutcracker” ballet.

All well and good, but the story has some scary moments with the Mouse King for the younger crowd. This is why, after 25 years of professionally performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rosine Bena found that “The Nutcracker” was often children’s first introduction to ballet, yet many of them found the full two-hour ballet too long and difficult to follow. Not to mention a little worrisome as well.

Which is why she came up with “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell,” a digest and lighter version of the original. It’s a 45-minute performance with a growing Christmas tree that kids and adults of all stripes can enjoy. Sierra Nevada Ballet has presented “The Peanutcracker” to Northern Nevada audiences since 2002.

“The Story in a Nutshell” features professional dancers and apprentices from the Sierra Nevada Ballet and dance students from schools in the local community. The humorous ballet will feature SNB principals Larissa Cassera and Ramona Cachinero with Alexander Biber, Justin Quandt and Arthur Reloj.

“The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell” ballet will be performed by the Sierra Nevada Ballet and students from Western Nevada Performing Arts Center and In Motion Studio at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Carson City Community Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, children and members of the Brewery Arts Center. Call Pam at 851-0808 or Rosine Bena at 783-3223.

• Contact reporter Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or

If you go

What: “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Carson City Community Center

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, children and BAC members.

Call: 851-0808 or 783-3223