Long Beach Ballet Arts Center

 

Long Beach, California - Long Beach Ballet Arts Center

The Nutcracker and the Queen (Queen Mary)

December 21, 2002 - By Brad Maxwell

If you're familiar with the Los Angeles area then you've probably seen the Long Beach Aquarium, the Queen Mary and Pine Avenue.  Add to this exciting trio a performance of the Nutcracker at the Terrace Theater and you have the makings of a big night out on the town.  The Long Beach Ballet Arts Center presents the Nutcracker this weekend with over a hundred dancers, great sets and flashy theatrical effects - a Southern California favorite!

The Long Beach Ballet Arts Center's Nutcracker follows the traditional story line and includes all the favorite Sugarplum Kingdom divertissements.  Many of the scenes include the charming young dancers of the Long Beach Ballet Academy providing many special and fun moments for the show.  The Terrace Theater is a classy venue turned festive, perfect for this spectacular show and holiday celebration.

The 1st Act opens as family and friends make their way to Clara's house for a holiday party.  The curtain lifts and we find the guests celebrating in a grand room all dressed in colorful Victorian costumes.  The old and aging Drosselmyer (Ben Majors) appears wearing a scary mask, surprising everyone with the magic of his puppets and dancing dolls.  The party ends and the tree grows leaving Clara the size of mice, leading to a fierce battle complete with booming cannons and spectacular explosions.  Clara (Tiffany Kuehl) and the Prince (Benito Marcelino) celebrate with a dreamlike dance making their way to a truly beautifully choreographed Snow Scene.   Clara and the Prince then take off in a magical sleigh flying across the stage in a shower of sparkles.

The 2nd Act opens to 30 sweet little angels drifting across a stage filled with billowy white clouds.  The scene shifts to the Kingdom of Sweets as Clara and her Prince arrive in their sleigh pulled by a real white horse.  Clara is first treated to a lively dance of 10 Spanish Dancers in bright red costumes.  The Arabian couple dance in the middle of a giant silk curtain floating around them as they perform.  The Chinese arrive with an escort of little dancers followed by and the exciting and favored Russians jumping out of a picture.  The sweet and lovely Mirlitons take stage followed by Mother Ginger who surprises the crowd with about 18 dancing kids under her skirt!  The Waltz of Flowers is beautifully done performed by 19 talented dancers led by the Dew Drop, Dale Padelford. 

The Sugarplum Fairy, Tanya Durbin and her Cavalier, Benito Marcelino, top off the evening performing the Grand Pas de Duex and variations.  Tanya is a talented Southern California native who has trained and danced with many of the major American companies.  Benito is a masterfully expressive dancer from the Dutch Guyana who has danced with many companies in South America and Europe including the English National Ballet. 

Attending the Long Beach Ballet's Nutcracker during the holidays is like adding a star to the top of your tree.  The season is really not complete without this holiday event!

 


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