Carolina Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ is impressive

Reviewed by Kendall Wiggins
Times-News correspondent

DURHAM — Most are familiar with the story of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker,” but the Carolina Ballet’s performance of this holiday classic last Saturday at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was mesmerizing. Complex choreography, an enchanting set and Christmas “magic” combined for a ballet that you will not want to miss this holiday season.

The dancing was fantastic. From the battle scene between the Mice and the Soldiers to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, all scenes were choreographed in perfect time with Tchaikovsky’s composition, which was performed by a live orchestra.

Clara, danced by Andrea Huynh, perfectly captured the wonder and excitement that any child would experience while traveling through the dreamlike Land of the Sweets. Fritz, danced by Parker Garrison, was another one of my favorites. His performance showed how mischievous little boys can become after eating holiday treats.

The Sugar Plum Fairy, danced by Lilyan Vigo, gracefully and skillfully executed the choreography, but the three Candy Canes stole the show. Eugene C. Barnes III, Oliver Béres and Adam Crawford Chavis dazzled with quick, powerful jumps that seemed effortless despite the trio’s perfect synchronicity.

The Nutcracker first appears as a toy, but many forget about his creator. Drosselmeyer, a toymaker and clockmaker, created the Nutcracker that is presented to Clara. Danced by Marin Boieru in the Carolina Ballet performance, Drosselmeyer doubles as a magician. A guest appearance from ABC 11 News Anchor Steve Daniels, “magical”dancers and other surprises captivated the audience.

Without a well-designed set, even the most beautiful ballet would fall flat. The set of “The Nutcracker” did not disappoint. Detailed backdrops, falling snow and even a growing Christmas tree (watch the ballet to find out) complemented the dancers. The costumes were cohesive and sometimes even humorous — the Gingerbread Cookies had expressive faces on the back of their costumes, which were only visible when the dancers turned their backs to the audience.

There is time to see Carolina Ballet’s rendition of this beloved holiday classic. The company will present “The Nutcracker” multiple times from Dec. 20-29 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

Tickets range from $27 to $100 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the venue’s box office. Tickets would make a thoughtful Christmas gift. Don’t miss your chance to experience an afternoon or evening of ballet, music and holiday tradition. Get more details on the company at

 Kendall Wiggins is a senior at Western Alamance High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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