Las Vegas, Nevada - Nevada Ballet Theatre
Las Vegas Wins Big With Its New Holiday Star!
December 13, 2014 - By Brad Maxwell
In 1931, the population of Las Vegas swelled as work on the Hoover Dam started and everyone headed to Las Vegas looking for a job building the dam. In
1941, the first hotel opened on the strip called El Rancho Vegas; well known for its gourmet buffet. In 1946, just after the war, the Flamingo Hotel opened and by 1957 there were a
dozen or so flashy hotels keeping the night alive. Over 8 million people were visiting each year hoping to spend an evening with the Hollywood crowd. Hollywood performers like
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley. Today, Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World and its
no longer just Hollywood entertainers. Ever since The Smith Center opened two years ago a new star was born -- The Nevada Ballet Theatre.
The Nevada Ballet Theatre presents a Nutcracker that shines brighter than any other star on Las Vegas Boulevard. Its like climbing inside a
breathtakingly beautiful two hour Christmas dream. You lose yourself, your emotions, your soul, to the sensations of the stage and the blend of something
magical -- one part Tchaikovsky and one part Nevada Ballet Theatre. You can double-down most anywhere in Las Vegas but this is a sure bet to
make you the biggest winner on the strip!
This Nutcracker is a special blend from the choreographer James Canfield. Yes there is a party scene, magical transitions with a staircase
centerpiece, a battle scene, and a Snow Scene with a beautiful moon and Winter Fairy. But James Canfield ups the bet on creativity from that point on.
And did I mention fairy? Act II opens to the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing her solo (usually saved as a prelude to the Pas De Deux) and is then joined by
the Spring Fairy, Summer Fairy and the Autumn Fairy dancing in an Enchanted Fairyland forest complete with trees of super large tree-colored rope
trunks -- a very lovely fairy-like land. If this wasn't enchanted enough, the fairies are joined by the Waltzing Flowers. The Divertissements follow and
then the Grand Pas de Deux which is sans male solo.
Act I opens to a scrim covered stage giving a dreamlike effect as we peer through to Clara's house in the background. The three story Victorian
home, complete with attic, is opened up to the audience like a doll house with interiors and a very large staircase near center stage to the right of the
home. The rooms are lit at different times to allow you to peak in on the family as they prepare for the party. The Party Scene is a nicely balanced blend of
dancing, wit, Drosselmeyer magic and Fritz-chievous calamity for Clara. The stage is quite large but activity fills every corner, forcing your eyes
to try to capture all the fun without missing a step. Drosselmeyer and Nephew bring along two beautiful Harlequin Dolls and a Dancing Bear to top off the
entertainment and to bring an end to the fun.
Clara's dream begins as she and the magnificent staircase spin and transition off-stage. The skinny mice with masks and tails start invading but the
soldiers soon arrive entering the battle over the castle drawbridge to combat the mice and save the Prince.
The Snow Scene is simply breathtaking -- like a beautiful holiday greeting card picture of a winter wonderland. Its like waking up Christmas morning
only to find you didn't get what you wanted...but something much better. Something grand. A stunning set, vibrant and magical lighting, lovely
costumes, lots of snow, an amazing orchestra, and a tingle that starts in your heart and spreads throughout your body.
Act II brings us the Sugarplum Fairy and her delicate solo. This is a part which usually comes later in Act
II for most of our Nation's Nutcrackers. In fact, most of Act II has been reshuffled and includes the parts of additional fairies, Spring, Summer and Autumn,
dancing in the Enchanted Fairyland. They are followed by the Waltzing Flowers and Clara who flies in on a rocking horse. The divertissements of
Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and Mother Ginger are more similar to the norm, yet they have been lovingly choroeraphed and redressed to make each so very special.
The Grand Pas de Deux was danced by Betsy Lucas* and Braeden Barnes*, two very gifted dancers. Their talented interpretations of musical
motion, so delicate and graceful, make the challenging choreography look easy and effortless. Such a special treat to watch dancers with the
magical level of their pairing. Kind of feels like I went back for another dessert.
One thing that has not been said thus far, and is not always obvious to many, is the overall beauty, talent
and consistency of quality for the entire company. The Nevada Ballet Theatre clearly presents a superlative dedication to dance, from the top office
to the youngest dancers. A very rare treasure. A true Holiday Star.
So if you happen to be in the Las Vegas area this holiday season, you really must see the Nevada Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker performance at the
Smith Center. Yes, skip the shows at the Casinos that cost three to four times as much and realize some true holiday magic.
For tickets: http://www.nevadaballet.com/
*Dancers may be different depending on performance.