Carolina Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ is mesmerizing

Reviewed by Kendall Wiggins
Times-News correspondent

DURHAM — Most of us know the story behind the beloved ballet “The Nutcracker,” but the Carolina Ballet’s performance of this holiday classic Dec. 29 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was nothing short of spectacular. Elegant, intricate choreography, an awe-inspiring set and a little bit of Christmas “magic” combined into a ballet that you will not want to miss next holiday season.
   First and foremost, the dancing was spectacular. From small children dressed as Truffles dancing in the “Land of the Sweets” to the prima ballerina dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy, all scenes were choreographed in perfect time with Tchaikovsky’s composition, performed by a live orchestra (which was also wonderful).
   Clara, danced by Ashley Burnett, perfectly captured the sheer wonder that any child would experience while traveling through the dreamlike, sweet world of the Nutcracker. Fritz, danced by Tyler Spencer, danced an accurate portrayal of just how mischievous little boys can be — especially around the holidays. The Sugar Plum Fairy, danced by Margaret Severin-Hansen, was graceful and beautiful, but the Candy Canes stole the show. Richard Krusch, Marcelo Martinez, and Yevgeny Shlapko dazzled in an upbeat scene in the Land of the Sweets with powerful leaps and jumps that looked completely effortless.
   Even a beautifully danced ballet would be lackluster without a complementary set. The set of “The Nutcracker” did not disappoint. Lifelike backdrops, a starry night that darkened as the ballet progressed and even a growing Christmas tree (you’ll just have to watch the ballet to understand this one) set the stage nicely.
   The Nutcracker is, quite obviously, a toy — but many forget about who created him. Drosselmeyer, a toymaker and clockmaker, created the Nutcracker that Clara is presented with, and in the Carolina Ballet’s performance, puts on somewhat of a magic show. A surprise appearance from Santa Claus, a floating angel, and dancers that appear seemingly out of midair all fascinated the audience.
   Lastly, many of you may be surprised to learn that the Carolina Ballet is a nonprofit organization. To support this organization by donating, visit or perhaps attend one of their next performances. Don’t miss out on this performance when the holiday season rolls around next year.

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


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