Ballet review: OU's "Nutcracker" is rewarding

Ballet review: The Oklahoma Festival Ballet offers the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker,” a University of Oklahoma production.
John Brandenburg Published: December 7, 2011
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— An adult Christmas party done in pantomime, gave way to a fantasy world viewed through a child's eyes, which cast its familiar spell over the audience, in a University of Oklahoma production of “The Nutcracker.”

Mary Margaret Holt directed and choreographed the Oklahoma Festival Ballet version of Tchaikovsky's holiday favorite.

Kara Troester was outstanding as Clara, the daughter of the party hosts who is given the nutcracker by the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer, played with just enough menace, and a patch on one eye, by Steve Brule.

An eighth-grader at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond, Troester brought statuesque stage presence and graceful dance movements to Clara, whose dreams after the party start as nightmares but become magical.

Emerging from Drosselmeyer's cabinet, Sydney Gettel and Jonathan Garza mastered the mechanical movements of their doll characters in a scene which served as a preamble to Clara's at first disturbing dreams.

Giving these a nightmarish edge was a bizarre battle between colorfully clad mice, led by their king, Zeek Wright, and toy soldiers, led by Zach Leighton as the Nutcracker Prince, who becomes Clara's escort.

Getting there was half the fun during Clara's transition from Drosselmeyer's bad dreams to the escapist world of her own imagination where she was both an honored guest and occasional participant.

Clad in pale blue-white outfits, Billie Jean Kandravi and Brett Young as the snow queen and king, interacted beautifully with each other and a chorus of Snowflakes, in front of snowy trees in the Land of Snow.

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• When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Dec. 11.

• Where: Rupel Jones Theatre, 563 Elm, Norman.

• Information: 325-4101 or www.ou.edu/finearts.

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