Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dance like everyone's watching

NBT opens holiday season
by Christopher Key

There are two types of people in the world.  Type A starts the holiday season shortly after Labor Day.  Type B doesn’t start the holiday season until Northwest Ballet Theater presents its annual production of The Nutcracker.  Guess which type I am.  If you’re also a Type B, you can go ahead and put the tree up now.

NBT debuted the 2015 version of the beloved ballet at the Blaine Performing Arts Center Saturday night and it will delight Nutcracker veterans and newcomers alike.  Every year, NBT Artistic Director John Bishop brings in new dancers, fresh choreography and suddenly the old chestnut sparkles like new-fallen snow.

By now, you are probably desperate to get the standard holiday Muzak® out of your head.  What better to replace it with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s soaring melodies and fantastic rhythms?

Several years ago, I got to play Herr Stahlbaum and was privileged to have Hailey Forsberg play my stage daughter, Clara.  Ms. Forsberg is now 19 years old and has graduated to playing the older Clara.  But her grace and charm have only increased over the years.  It is only fitting that she is this year’s prima and she is truly a gift to all of us.

The old guy (aka Bishop) keeps threatening to hang up his tights and after more years of hearing that than I care to remember, I just ignore him.  He’s playing Herr Drosselmeyer this year and is pretty impressive for an old guy.  When he can keep his wig on.

Henry Winslow and Evyn Bartlett share the role of the Nutcracker Prince.  I saw Winslow last night and he’s both terrifically talented and a perfect match for Forsberg.  Isabel Almlie and Eleanor Totten likewise share the role of Young Clara.

If you’ve been following Northwest Ballet Theater for a while, you’ll recognize the always-enchanting Chloe Johnston as The Snow Queen.  Sophia Kongshaug delivers a smoking-hot Arabian, Ona Underwood is delightful as the Castle Fairy and Delci Syvertsen is a sparkling Dew Drop.

Let’s face it, The Nutcracker is a visual delight.  So instead of drowning you in words, I’m going to post photos and let them do the talking.

All photos credit - Christopher Key

The Nutcracker performs Sunday, December 6, 2:00 p.m., at the Blaine PAC.  The production moves to Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre December 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and December 13 at 2:00 p.m.  The season closes at Mt. Vernon’s McIntyre Hall on December 19 at 7:30 p.m. and December 20 at 2:00 p.m.  See the venue sites for ticketing.

Let no nut go uncracked!

# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment