Visions of Sugar Plums: North Carolina Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Oh, the magic of it all. Living dolls. The Sugar Plum Fairy. The Snow Queen. Worldly The Nutcracker
dancers. It’s The Nutcracker, in all its magic, beauty, and holiday charm. With music by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky performed live with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and stunning costume design by Bjorn Winnbald, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s production has something to delight every family member. It’s not everyday you have a chance to create a new tradition, a custom, of enjoying performing arts, but The North Carolina Dance Theatre has found a regular in their spectacular production. There are few things that personify Christmas like The Nutcracker and I can’t wait to share that experience with my family for years to come.

Generations of audiences have enjoyed this Christmas favorite, a charming tale of holiday adventure that follows Clara, a young girl who receives the gift of a nutcracker soldier from her mysterious godfather. During the night, magical events unfold: the Christmas tree grows taller, toy soldiers and little mice become larger, and Clara’s nutcracker comes to life. He battles the Mouse King, ultimately saving Clara’s life. Together, they are transported to the glittering land of Snow, where they are greeted by the Snow Queen and King, and to the Land of Sweets, where they are greeted by tiny Angels, the majestic Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Sweets of the Kingdom.

The Nutcracker

In the opening act, the audience was mesmerized by the party scene at the Tannenbaum’s home. The party cast managed to captivate audience members with colorful expressions and cutesy scenarios. Particularly remarkable were the living dolls who delighted all with their precision and grace. The elaborate incorporation of children captivated the attention of all audience members; even males couldn’t help but smile at the tiny angels carrying candles or the entertaining escapade of tiny dancing mice.

The opening scene of Act 2 was highlighted by excellent choreography and stunning
costuming. Coffee, performed by Melissa Anduiza and Pete Walker, were especially entertaining and obviously well-rehearsed, but the most remarkable performance was the Snow Queen, flawlessly danced by Jamie Dee. Dee thrilled the audience with a series of breathtaking moves.  Her control, precision, and grace represented all that is beautiful about the ballet. I felt a lump in my throat as I imagined my daughter, Athena, leaping across the stage in a dream-like costume like the Snow Queen.

The Nutcracker

We celebrated the season with a cast of hundreds as they took us on a magical journey to mystical lands. This family-friendly and affordable production is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Visions of Sugar Plums will be dancing in my head to Tchaikovsky the whole season. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without The Nutcracker.

North Carolina Dance Theatre: The Nutcracker
12/08/2012 – 12/23/2012
Photo credit: Christopher Record Photography

42 thoughts on “Visions of Sugar Plums: North Carolina Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker

  1. I’ve been several times…it’s so magical!! Looks like you had a wonderful time!! =) I think everyone needs to see the performance at least once or twice, if not more!!


  2. I was in the Nutcracker when I was 5 or 6. The local university SUNY Purchase (well known for its studies in the performing arts, specifically music, dancing, acting) puts on a production ever year and local kids can audition for the bit parts, such as mice, angels, soldiers etc. My sister and I both got cast as mice (not the same year)–older and more talented dancers get the more important roles like Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy. I clearly remember my ballet slipper slipping off my foot because the girl behind me stepped on it! I had to run out back on stage and get it (it wasn’t too far out), but I was still very obvious and greatly entertained the audience. We have the VHS version on tape somewhere and you can clearly see me running on stage and off and the audience laughing. My finest moment as a ballerina! 😀


  3. I loved taking my two nieces aged 20 and 21 to experience something new and out of their comfort zone and was excited to witness their awe at the beauty of ballet. We saw the Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet – their tribute to Maurice Sendak, of “Where the Wild Things Are.” The set was amazing, the dancers glorious, and the day memorable.


  4. I took my son to the Nutcracker when he was little– it was so magical for him– he remembers it to this day! I nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog award (see here for details, because I love what you bring to the table in terms of getting out and enjoying everything life has to offer. Will definitely be checking out your older posts for our next trip to Europe!


  5. The Nutcracker is part of our holiday tradition as well. We watch the ballet on Christmas Eve, and were lucky enough to see a live performance in Boston last year. Thanks for sharing your experience in North Carolina 🙂


  6. I love the Nutcracker, I’ve seen it at the Royal Festival Hall a couple of times. Thanks also for popping by and liking my blogs posts. Much appreciated Lesley. Let me know when you get around to going to New Zealand and jumping off something high. New Zealand would be your idea of heaven I think


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