Long Beach Ballet


Long Beach, California  - Long Beach Ballet

A Star Studded International City Nutcracker

December 20, 2008 - By Brad Maxwell

LBB1bFor the past ten years, the Long Beach Ballet has partnered  with ballet companies in China to promote the arts across the pacific and nurture international ballet kinship.  In it's 26th anniversary performance, the Long Beach Ballet showcases stars from China, while celebrating the accomplishments of our own  Southern California stars. 

The Long Beach Ballet Nutcracker warms your heart with it's spectacular celebration of Christmas.  With one of the largest casts in the nation, this Nutcracker provides the greater Long Beach area with a star studded international performance that's exciting and brilliant.  

The Long Beach Ballet Nutcracker is very elaborate as Act I ends with Clara and the Prince flying off in a sleigh with a backdrop of sparkling fireworks and then returning in Act II with a live horse pulling the sleigh across stage.  The Battle Scene in Act I includes cannons firing flashes and the Snow Scene showcases a Snow King and Queen.  Act II begins with three flying Angels and a cast of over 30 young angels dancing in a soft white cloud.  The transitions throughout both Acts are well planned and executed with spectacular backdrops, sets and costumes.

LBB2Act I begins at a party in the Stahlbaum's home, a large and stately room with a staircase on the left and a mysterious grandfathers clock on the right.  A primary focus is placed on the rowdy antics of her brother Fritz (Will Stevens) and the magic of Drosselmeyer played by the vividly expressive Ben Majors.  Clara dances beautifully (Carly Stone / Megan Wilcox) throughout the Party Scene and then with the Prince just prior to the Snow Scene.  The Battle Scene is big with excitement and fun as many large and small chubby mice battle the army of Soldiers who bring cannons disguised as presents and start blasting away with flashy and loud cannon charges.  The Soldiers prevail and the Nutcracker is magically turned into a Prince who escorts Clara to a snowy forest.  The Snow Scene includes fourteen talented Snowflake dancers and a Snow Queen (Hannah Wright) and Snow King (Garrett Smith) who, along with the Snowflakes, provide a breathtaking and magical visit to the forest of snow.

Act II begins with a stage full of little Angels seemingly floating in their Angel cone dresses and wings of golden feathers.  Clara and the Prince arrive at the Sugarplum Kingdom and are treated to a celebration of dances performed by this ballet's large and talented cast.  Eight lively Spanish dancers are followed by Arabians dancing on a giant silk veil.  LBB3Golden Chinese dancers arrive on a royal sedan chair followed by the Russians who jump through a giant picture, spinning and leaping.  The pretty Mirlitons dance in their delicate green dresses and then the funny Mother Ginger arrives with her out of control children.  The Sugarplum Kingdom is filled with beautiful fluffy dresses as fourteen Waltz of Flowers and four Cavaliers create a magnificent garden of colorful flowers, providing a centerpiece for the lovely Dewdrop Fairy (Melissa Sandvig). 

Yang Zou, the Nutcracker Prince, and Haiyan Wu, the Sugarplum Fairy, dance a brilliant grand pas de deux that is delicate, graceful and moving.  A special holiday treat that we in our international city are privileged to experience and enjoy. 

The Long Beach Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the Terrace Theater through December 21.  One of the most spectacular in the nation!


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