American Ballet Theatre


Hollywood, California - American Ballet Theatre

The Nutcracker Stars in Hollywood

December 6, 2002 - By Brad Maxwell

Whenever you go out on the town in Hollywood, California there's always the possibility that you may run into a big star, being the entertainment capital that it is.  You may not expect this to happen when you go out to see the Nutcracker, the family oriented holiday classic, but The American Ballet Theatre (ABT) makes it happen at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.   Paloma Herrera, ABT's world renowned ballerina from Argentina, dances as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, Marcelo Gomes, one of ABT's best from Brazil.

The ABT Nutcracker follows the traditional story line adding in a few twists and new characters.  The party scene leads into Clara's dream, a super-sized tree and a battle with the mice where the Nutcracker Prince and his soldiers get help from the dolls who were presents under the tree.  Drosselmeyer sends Clara and the Prince on a journey to the Land of Snow led by a beautiful Unicorn.  Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel to Spain, Arabia, China and Russia until they reach the Land of Flowers where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Although the ABT Nutcracker excludes a Mother Ginger scene and doesn't incorporate lots of young dancers, the talent is unprecedented.

Act I opens as we peek into the friendly and magical Drosselmeyer's workshop as he's packing his gifts.  Our focus then shifts to stage right where Clara and Fritz are making shadow puppets.  The party opens to a grand room with an impressionistic like draped ceiling, windows and a magnificent chandelier - exquisitely adorned.  Drosselmeyer arrives, played by Victor Barbee, using his magic to animate his toy soldier, doll and unicorn into life size dancers.  Everyone at the party is dressed very elegantly, dancing and toasting while Fritz and his friends get into trouble.  Even Grandmother starts dancing after she sneaks a drink of wine.

As we lead into the Snow Scene, Clara (Erica Cornejo) and the Nutcracker Prince (Joaquin De Luz) dance lovingly together as they make their way to the Land of Snow.  As the snow begins to fall, they find themselves surrounded by dancing Snowflakes and the Snow Queen (Michele Wiles) with some of the most beautiful costumes ever.

Act II opens to a scene of giant colorful flowers - making it appear as if Clara and the Prince are deep within a spectacular blooming garden.  The Spanish, Chinese and Russian dances are lively and fun and the Arabian dance is full of spectacular lifts.  The Waltz of Flowers is simply lovely, choreographed by John Meehan.  A large corps of dancers wonderfully costumed, filling the stage with colorful movements and lifts, in the middle of a brilliant garden.

This ballet culminates to a world class Grand Pas de Deux and variations danced by Marcelo Gomes and Paloma Herrera.  Watching these dancers perform is like nothing else.  Marcelo is an extremely handsome and extraordinary dancer, originally from Rio de Janeiro, having danced many lead roles he is simply spectacular to watch.  Paloma is world renowned, originally from Buenos Aires, and is one of the most celebrated dancers in the world today. 

If you love ballet and the Nutcracker, you owe it to yourself to see this ABT performance with Paloma and Marcelo. 


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