In the past 15 years, there has been no Christmas without the Nutcracker story, either re-watching a ballet show or a classical cartoon. Recently we went to see a ballet performance by Moscow City Ballet, who has been touring several countries, including Belgium.
We arrived at the show venue and we did not see any orchestra. I thought the sound on speakers will be poor and inappropriate, but it was well mastered. In the end we did not notice any difference.
The story runs on a Christmas Eve. Adults and children gather together around a Christmas tree. Children get presents. Clara, one of the main story characters, gets a wooden nutcracker from Drosselmeyer, a mysterious local figure. Frits, Clara’s brother, breaks the toy. After midnight the story goes on as a journey through magical lands, involving mice, soldiers and a personified land of sweets. The story focuses on the magic power of Christmas with a clear and simple message.
I read some reviews of the show before going to see it. I must admit I expected to see a regular performance, as we have not heard about the Moscow City Ballet before. Apparently we were the victims of the Bolshoi Ballet reputation, which is a reference in the artistic world.
I am neither an expert, nor an authorised critic, but the performance was flawless. “The perfect dancer has never danced” as someone said! This is what I would answer to certain critics, who found the performance poor.
It is true that the Moscow City Ballet performers need to fight with their artistic skills and techniques to raise their company profile, to build a name actually. Most of the performers were trained in Russian schools. They maintain an old Russian ballet tradition. No one in front of the stage doubt about it that evening!
The performance requires a dynamic choreography and top dancing techniques combined with soft movements and genuine body expression. This was a challenge that the performers overcame easily.
The show as such brought in a fresh spirit of Russian school. The choreography and lighting were well mixed with the dancers’ body expression. Each of their body part filtered the music and conveyed it to the audience with each of their muscle fibres. The dancers did not fail to prove it on the stage.
Tchaikovsky’s music is a masterpiece built on unique combination of dance and rich symphonic harmonies, which were the novelties of the time. The novelties are still alive nowadays and we make our Christmas more enjoyable.
With breathtaking movements, elegance and vivacity the music produces the emotions the audience needs to feel the magical Christmas.
The Nutcracker stays as one of the most popular and accessible pieces of art, which anyone could enjoy and feel, be it children, seniors, ballet and music lovers or beginners.