Though the weather outside was far from frightful, the Civic Center was absolutely delightful for opening night of Oklahoma City Ballet's “The Nutcracker.” The balconies were festooned with lighted garland as the Philharmonic began playing Tchaikovsky's familiar overture to a nearly full house.
This year's production seemed fresh and exciting, a true accomplishment for a ballet that is performed each year. Clara, danced by company member Amanda Herd, led the way in bringing the audience into an enchanted world of giant mice, growing Christmas trees and a nutcracker who comes to life.
Though technically miles ahead of the children she was dancing with in the first act, Herd did a marvelous job of performing with them and capturing the innocent joys of childhood. All of the children who performed throughout the ballet were very well rehearsed and danced with tremendous enthusiasm, especially the tiny scene-stealing white mouse in the first act.
Herd and Nutcracker Prince Tye Love, performed a challenging pas de deux in the Land of Snow, in place of the traditional Snow King and Queen. Despite a couple of small bobbles, they swept across the stage as if they were floating in the breeze.
The highlight of the scene, however, was the corps de ballet as the Snowflakes.
Wearing sparkling white classical tutus, they swirled around the stage as snow fell, seeming to create the glittering wonderland with their dancing.
In the second act Clara was welcomed to the Land of Sweets by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, danced by new company members Da Young Jung and Alvin Tovstogray. Performing solo variations that are often done with the Grand Pas de Deux later in the act, Jung and Tovstogray showcased their technical excellence.
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