The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

A Night at the Ballet: ‘The Nutcracker’ at The Palace

Andrei Radulescu

On Nov. 10 and 11, the Colgate University Ballet Company brought Tchaicovsky’s “The Nutcracker” to the Palace Theater in Hamilton, N.Y. Written in 1892 and based on the children’s fairy tale written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, this holiday show tells the magical story of a girl named Clara and her whimsical adventures. On Christmas Eve, she receives a Nutcracker doll from her mysterious uncle, Drosselmeyer. When the party ends and all the guests leave, Clara falls asleep. She awakens in a strange world where she is shrunken down to the size of a doll. The evil mouse queen torments the girl, but her Nutcracker doll mystically comes to life and saves her. The Nutcracker takes Clara to a magical land of snowflakes, fairies and candy. When Clara wakes up near the family Christmas tree, she wonders whether everything she experienced was real or just the result of the imagination of a creative girl. 

Colgate Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” is an entirely student-led show. Senior Pariya Chanthasensack, who played the Sugar Plum Fairy, and junior Natalia Legname, who played Clara, created their own choreography for the entire show and taught it to their dancers. As a lifelong fan of ballet, Chanthasensack had a blast being such a huge part of bringing a famous ballet piece to Hamilton. 

“It is always fun creating something I really like. I really love teaching my choreography to the dancers and watching them enjoy dancing their parts. It is especially a proud moment to create something purely generated from our efforts, something we can call our own,” Chanthasensack said. 

Legname was just as excited to watch the show come together.

“The final result of putting everything together is the most rewarding part of choreographing the show. It amazes me to see everyone’s hard work and dedication come together to make our show what it is; all of our dancers are so talented in their own unique ways and I love being able to showcase their strengths through choreography,” Legname said.

Members of the Hamilton community, just like the Colgate students involved, played an essential part in making the show a success. Local children were asked to join “The Nutcracker” as candy canes for the Russian dance. Legname worked with them closely and taught them the entire choreography. 

“Having local kids join us for ‘The Nutcracker’ brings an extra magical element to the show. They bring in so much energy and excitement, and it’s impossible for it to not spread to the entire cast. Working with the kids and their families has been so rewarding — their enthusiasm to be a part of the show and to learn through us is so endearing. We hope to continue this tradition for many years to come,” Legname said.

“The Nutcracker” has been an essential part of the Hamilton and Colgate communities for a long time. The tradition was one of the aspects that drew in ballet dancers who hold fond memories of dancing in “The Nutcracker” productions during their childhood. Giselle Wong ’23, a Colgate alumna, joined the Colgate Ballet Company in 2019, excited to perform in a show she holds so close to her heart. Sadly, at the time, she found that the Colgate Ballet Company terminated their performance of the show in 2017. 

“‘The Nutcrackerwas something we missed from our ballet and holiday experience,” Wong said. “My friend Fallyn [Kirlin ’23] and I wanted to bring it back and I’m glad we did.” 

Since then, Wong and Kirlin choreographed, taught, danced and did all that was essential to bring the show to the Palace Theater in Hamilton.  

For the second weekend of November, both Wong and Kirlin came back to Hamilton to watch Colgate Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” as members of the audience. 

“I was so excited to watch everyone,” Wong said. “I was genuinely smiling the whole time. I was so happy to see all the little changes in the setup, choreography and formations. It was exciting to see all the dancers I’ve worked with before in their true element. It added to the emotional aspect of the performance.”

As a member of the audience, Wong had an opportunity to interact with the audience for whom she has performed so many times.

“Yesterday, a woman walked up to me and thanked me for bringing it back to Hamilton. It warms my heart that the community loves the show so much,” Wong said.

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About the Contributor
Rylee Hatch
Rylee Hatch, Arts & Features Editor
Rylee Hatch is a sophomore from East Fishkill, NY concentrating in English and environmental studies. She has previously served as a staff writer for the Commentary and News sections. On campus, Rylee is involved in Colgate Dance Initiative, the Dance Team, and the Ballet Company. 

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