I loathe The Nutcracker. Usually. Yes, it has redeeming qualities, namely the children—those performing onstage in various roles and those watching in adorable holiday outfits from the audience, succumbing to the magic of the story and dreams of someday dance classes. But it’s not Tchaikovsky’s best work, and it’s often listed by audience members and dancers among least favored ballets.
What I enjoyed most about Nevada Ballet Theatre’s past productions—namely, the campy props that were so endearingly kitsch—seemed gone forever when the company took its Nutcracker from UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre to Paris Las Vegas’ Le Theatre des Arts last year. So while taking my seat on opening night, I told my friend not to expect much. It is, after all, a holiday ballet for kids—“fun, but not ‘dance.’”
I was wrong.
- The Nutcracker
- Presented by the Nevada Ballet Theatre
- Dec. 23, 7 p.m.
- Dec. 24 & 26, 1 p.m.
- Paris Las Vegas
Canned music, used in place of live orchestra, has limits of course, but as soon as Betsy Lucas performed her clean and compelling Ballerina Doll and Jeremy Bannon-Neches (Snow King) and Sarah Fuhrman (Snow Queen) reeled us in with an artistically and athletically beautiful pas de deux, my humbug attitude began to melt away. Alissa Dale’s enchantingly fluid Sugarplum Fairy alone is worth the cost of tickets, and Cameron Findlay’s portrayal of the Russian Nougat had the audience swooning. Nevada Ballet came through with an enjoyable night of artistry and performance, and by the show’s end, I’d even warmed to the casino location. The theatre, after all, is gorgeous.