Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian // theadelaidian.net/author/georgina-tselekidis
Be immersed in a dreamy fairy tale land
After a sell-out show of Swan Lake in 2015, The Imperial Russian BalletCompany braced Adelaide's Festival Centre yet again for a dazzling evening of beautiful dance. When it comes to ballet, the Russians know best, and after watching The Nutcracker, I'm pretty sure my inner child is yearning to get her ballet shoes on.
The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story of 'The Nutcracker and the King of Mice' written by E.T.A Hoffman, which today differs in detail from the original, however the basic plot remains the same. It tells the tale of a young girl who dreams of the Nutcracker Prince and a battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. In between scenes, we are transported to a magical wonderland as the Prince takes 'Clara' along an enchanting journey in which they both fall in love.
The Imperial Russian Ballet present their interpretation of "The Nutcracker" accompanied by Tchaikovsky's remarkable score, in which the tale is set in an old German town, featuring a mysterious toy maker who comes to visit a family over Christmas. As he brings toys for the households' two children Clara and Fritz, Clara becomes infatuated with the Nutcracker toy and her adventures also bring a tie between dream and reality. This dreamy aspect is heightened by the stylised and dramatic effects on stage, as the set design almost sparkles and glistens with the dancers resembling a doll-like and transcendental quality. They bring about an otherworldly mise en scene that is evocative of an enchanting fairy tale, particularly in the Land of Sweets scene, in which a variety of diversely dressed characters illuminate the stage, including Spanish, Arabian, Russian and Chinese dancers, a Mirliton dance and of course the delightful Waltz of Flowers.
The first scene immediately mesmerises the crowd, as the luxe velvet curtain rises to reveal the Christmas Eve party scene reminiscent of a grand ballroom. Embellished set design takes us to this other world that is far from our own reality; gold detail, a tall Christmas tree surrounded by all the children's presents, exquisite and stunning costume design and snowflakes that sprinkle onto stage - it's a place you can really imagine, and feel.
From the get-go, dancers of all ages fill the stage including little ones from a local South Australian ballet company. The combination of professional dancers from the Imperial Russian Ballet Company and a mix of amateur child dancers from the Adelaide based Pavlova School of Classical Ballet really creates an inviting experience for all ages to enjoy. Likewise, it provides the little ones with a chance to shine amongst industry professionals who have toured and performed around the world.
Until the closing scene, I look around and eyes are affixed onto the characters who possess an arresting poise and elegance in each of their breathtaking scenes. Lighting and sound elevate the whimsical and extravagant ambience that allows the performers to stand tall like silhouettes swiftly gliding across the stage, so delicate yet dominant, establishing a striking stage presence that cannot be ignored. Of course, my favourite scene is Clara's appearance in a white celestial tutu that encompasses the beauty and romanticism of ballet as a whole. A classical and graceful femininity and dynamism lies in the female roles that primarily take control of the stage, almost celebrating the beauty of the female form.
The Imperial Russian Ballet Company was formed in 1994 by the Bolshoi Theatre soloist, Gediminas Taranda and comprises 40 dancers from the major ballet schools of Russia. You can view more information about The Nutcracker and upcoming shows in the near future by visiting The Russian Ballet website.