Plump snowflakes showered St. Louis early this year as a prelude for the waltzing snowflakes of Saint Louis Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”
Opening Thanksgiving weekend at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, located on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, and continuing later in December, the company presents its annual classic, the most brilliantly danced and elaborate jewel of the season.
The full-length ballet in two acts whisks audiences on the mythic journey of young Clara who follows her gentlemanly spirit guide, the transformed Nutcracker doll.
On her mysterious Christmas eve quest, she confronts the villainous Mouse King and his minions, frolics with the snowflakes, travels to the magic realm of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and is regaled by dancers representing sweets and treats, storybook characters and countries from the far reaches of the earth.
Saint Louis Ballet’s magical production, choreo-graphed by Artistic Director Gen Horiuchi, includes beauty, glitter and spectacle for young and old alike.
Set to the famous music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, dancing dolls at a family Christmas party give way to the dream world of the Mouse King and soon the Snow Queen’s palace. There the Waltz of the Snowflakes begins with gentle flurries and builds to a swirling intensity before diminishing to white calm as Clara and her Nutcracker depart in their sled.
Soon at the Sugar Plum Fairy’s festive Palace of Sweets, she witnesses a showcase in her honor of international culture, not only from the countries of Europe, but including the music and dance of Spain, China and Arabia. The original 1892 production was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov to Tchaikovsky’s score and based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale.
Four of the company’s wonderful lead ballerinas will alternate in the Sugar Plum Fairy role: Amy Herchenroether, Lauren Lane, Tiffany Mori and Lori Wilson. Her princely Cavalier will be danced by either Mark D. Bloodgood, Elliott Geolat, Michael McGonegal or Matthew Rusk. The Snow Queen will be danced by Lauren Christensen, Rebecca Cornett, Elizabeth Lloyd or Alexis Matthesen.
The role of the child Clara will be danced by Eva Gervich or Isabel Jones, students of the Saint Louis Ballet School. The extensive student cast also trains at the school.
Performances run from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, then pick up again on Dec. 19 through Dec. 23.
Included in the performances is a narrated, shorter show at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, for very young students and those with limited attention spans. The same top quality dancing will ensue with “no shushing” allowed.
Added attractions include meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy for dinner on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 19-20 at 5:30 p.m. and for luncheon on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21-22 at 12:30 p.m.
During all performances guests may shop at the delightful, eye-catching Nutcracker Boutique. For tickets ranging from $25 to $72, go to touhill.org or call 314-516-4949. For more information, visit www.stlouisballet.org.
The Nutcracker Performance Times
- Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 - 7 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 - 7 PM
- Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 - 7 PM
- Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 - 7 PM
- Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 - 7 PM
- Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 - 2:30 PM
- Monday, Dec. 23, 2019 - 7 PM