Fort Worth, Texas - Texas Ballet Theater
Nutcracker Mice Are Attacking The Fort!
December 13, 2013 - By Brad Maxwell
Fort Worth is our Country's 18th largest city, yet it started as a lonely little outpost in the wide open Texas frontier. Known for its
fertile soil and game-rich land. Fort Worth is blessed to have the Trinity River snaking its way throughout the city supporting its abundant environment. It started as a Military Fort back in the 1850's
and soon became a favorite stop on the Chisholm Trail for cowboys driving herds of Longhorns to the railheads in Kansas. In the land of cattle and oil, the Texas Ballet
Theater presents another strength that the Great State of Texas offers: one of the best Nutcrackers in the country!
The Texas Ballet Theater's Nutcracker puts the Star in the Lone Star State -- "Pretty as a pie supper" (Texas cowboy lingo). First, Ben
Stevenson's choreography is finely polished and exquisitely opulent incorporating breathtaking extended lifts and dances that
fill the senses with a blend of poetic motion and graceful talent. Second, the dancers are incredibly synchronized and perfect. I never
once had my attention caught by a slip or off-timed twirl -- "There's no slack in her
rope". Awe-inspiring choreography and performance perfection is what the Texas Ballet Theater is all about.
Act I opens to the Stahlbaum's ballroom themed in green with two grand staircases
and white trimmed archways and pillars. The Texas Ballet Theater incorporates an older Fritz (Max Caro*) and Clara (Nicole Von Enck*) on point incorporating her
throughout both acts. Drosselmeyer looks very magical dressed in a cape, vest, knickers and an eye patch. He introduces his harlequin dolls hidden behind a giant
cabbage and then his toy soldier appears from his guard house. The party is chock
full of comedy, complete with old flirtatious grandparents, Fritz's teasing antics and a chubby family dressed in checks and stripes. The chubby checkered father wore a
bowler hat that reminds me of the portly fellow from the Laurel and Hardy movies. Not a lot of dancing in this party scene but its bursting with comedy.
Clara awakens and finds Drosselmeyer in the ballroom, which seems to be shrinking
as the Christmas tree grows to the ceiling. Little gray mice appear and start making advances as the soldiers attack with swords and a cannon until Clara kills the Mouse
King with her shoe. The Nutcracker Prince (Lucas Priolo*) transforms the ballroom into the Land of Snow where the Snow Queen (Katelyn Clenaghan*) and King
(Simon Wexler*) share the stage with twelve Snowflake Dancers. The snow scene is Christmas Card perfect with a swirling
blue and white backdrop, a constant dusting of snow falling on the stage, as well as a little in the audience, and the a heart-stirring
performance by Clenaghan and Wexler.
Act II opens to the Kingdom of Sweets where the Nutcracker Prince and Clara are greeted by a team of cooks dressed in white,
including cute little chef's hats. The two are then entertained by three Spanish Couples, two Chinese with a sword and staff, a lovely
Arabian couple, two beautiful Mirlitons with a prince-like escort, Madame Bonbonaire and her children, and the colorfully gorgeous Waltz of Flowers. Ben Stevenson's
choreography is magically enchanting throughout each and every divertissment and the quality of dancing is simply
outstanding. With his combination of stylized movements and amazing talented dancers, the Texas Ballet Theater leads so many other productions, simply by its
quality of dance.
The finale presents Carolyn Judson*, the Snow Queen, and Lucas Priolo*, the
Nutcracker Prince, dancing the Grand Pas De Deux. These two talented performers
are exquisitely elegant and delicately graceful. They are masterful at blending their expressive movements to the emotional music of Tchaikovsky.
So if you happen to be in the Fort Worth area this holiday season, you really ought to
mosey on over to the Bass Performance Hall, pull up a stump and relax a spell. You don't want to miss the Texas Ballet Theater's performance of the Nutcracker.
For tickets: https://www.texasballettheater.org/
*Dancers may be different depending on performance.