Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker


It was dark and snowy outside as friends and families filled the Power Center for the Performing Arts to the brim. They were all here to see the Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre perform “The Nutcracker”, directed by Carol Radovic, Kathryn Scharp and Kristine Konz. “The Nutcracker” is a Christmas ballet that was composed by Tchaikovsky in 1892. The cast of the AABT Nutcracker consisted of a variety of ages, from elementary schoolers to adults, everyone playing their part beautifully.


Shortly after everyone was seated, the lights dimmed and the curtains opened to reveal a simple, but beautiful set with a huge Christmas tree right in the middle. The show began with a Christmas Eve party at the home of Clara, who was performed by Lydia Polk. This scene was filled with more acting, rather that dancing. The dancers performed wonderfully, making it very easy to feel like you were there at the party with them.


The next scene, entitled Midnight, showed Clara waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the battle between the Tin Soldiers and the Mice. The Mouse Queen, performed by Lorna Davalos, was very fun to watch. She intrigued everyone with her big and sassy personality. She and the other mice consumed the entire audience’s attention with their many cool leaps, jumps and wonderful acting.


The highlight of the first act, however, was the last scene before intermission—Land of the Snow. This scene began with Snow Faeries and Snow Flakes dancing to a beautiful waltz. Soon after, the Snow Queen, played by Bailey Ahles, and the Snow King, played by Eric Priuska, came to the stage and danced a duet. In addition to the sparkling costumes, pointe shoes and beautiful music, there was fake snow falling from the ceiling and onto the stage throughout the scene. This really added to the scene and made it a gorgeous winter wonderland.


Following the intermission came the second act, the Kingdom of the Sweets. This act featured a wide variety of solos, duets and trios: Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Trepak, Marzipan, Mother Ginger and her sugar plums, Flowers, Cavalier and The Sugar Plum Faerie.


The highlight of the Kingdom of the Sweets was the Tea trio, performed by Genna Galura, Jessica Loechli and CHS junior, Kaleb Doughten-Priuska. This trio was in sharp contrast with many of the other dances in the show and with its upbeat music and choreography; It had the whole crowd engaged and wanting more when it came to an end.


The Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker was definitely one worth seeing. The combination of the extremely elaborate props, costumes and choreography filled with many amazing lifts and partnering, made it such a spectacular show. Many audience members, including myself, left this performance filled with the kind of holiday spirit you can only get from seeing The Nutcracker.