There is nothing that starts the holiday season off quite as effectively as the sound of the ever-familiar “Waltz of the Flowers” or “Russian Dance” playing as the tale of the young Clara and her new magical Christmas present comes to life. Colgate’s fourth annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was preformed by the Colgate Ballet Company in Brehmer Theatre on November 21 and 22 with three shows, one on Friday at 7 p.m. and two on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
All the members of the Colgate Ballet Company, as well as the added cast that included members of the Ballroom Club, Masque & Triangle, Fencing Club and the Children’s Corps, shined on stage as they once more successfully brought the famous Christmas tale to life.
Everyone may know the story, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it performed right in front of you, and it was obvious from the very start that the entire cast had worked incredibly hard on perfecting the performance. Sophomore Kaitlyn Kelly took the lead role of Clara, her talent and skill apparent as she beautifully danced her way through the story, playing her part perfectly. Sophomore Brian Peddie danced alongside her as the title role of the Nutcracker, while fellow sophomore Kate Drazen took the auspicious part of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Though Colgate’s rendition of the ballet may not have been the most technically-challenging version ever performed, it was nonetheless obvious that there was great potential and talent in every dancer and, most importantly, that everyone on stage was truly enjoying. As audience members were wistfully taken through each of the memorable Nutcracker scenes-Clara first receiving the nutcracker from Herr Drosselmeyer, the battle scene between the Nutcracker and the Rat King, the celebration for Clara, Mother Ginger and her skirt filled with children, the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy-the undeniable spirit and fun of the show was evident.
First-year performer and first-time ballet dancer Annette Shantur was passionate in her description of her time working on the production The Nutcracker and what it meant to come into the performance as a ballet novice.
“It’s really great that students can come to Colgate and join the ballet company without any prior experience,” Shantur said.
Watching the performance, it was hard to tell that some of the dancers on stage had never even tried ballet before their Nutcracker experience. Though it was obvious that every dancer was concentrating extremely hard-in some cases, even overly hard, perhaps-it was still nonetheless extremely enjoyable to watch for all audience members in the theater.
The performance was obviously worked on until every scene and every dance flowed. It was apparent how much work was put into the show, but the cast often made it seem easy, as if it all came naturally.
“The Nutcracker was lots of fun!” Shantur went on to explain. “I can’t wait for the spring production. I really look forward to performing again next year.”
The Nutcracker was a tremendous success, managing to show just how talented members of the Colgate student body are while also giving every member of the audience a small taste of the holiday season to come. If future Colgate Ballet Company performances are anything like The Nutcracker, they will certainly be something to anticipate.
With that auspicious beginning, let the holiday season officially begin!