Cape Town City Ballet festive season favourite The Nutcracker 

Photo by Helena Fagan

THERE can be no better ballet for the festive season than The Nutcracker. It is, after all, set at Christmas time and filled with the magic and wonder that children adore.

This production, which runs at Artscape in the Opera House until December 23, is produced by Veronica Paeper. According to her programme notes, she has re-choreographed it while “hopefully retaining the original charm and energy” of 1970s and ’80s productions by Pamela Chrimes and David Poole. “The Grande Pas de Deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince is by Ivanov from the original 1892 production, which has been passed down through memory,” she says.

Kirstel Paterson and Leusson Muniz, photo by Helena Fagan

Costumes and sets are by Peter Cazalet and they are incredibly beautiful, framing the dancers perfectly. “Breathtaking” is a word often bandied about unnecessarily but in this case it can apply; I gasped on more than one occasion at the vibrant and lavish spectacle on the stage, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s music which ranges from delicate to thunderous. If it can elicit such a reaction from old me I can only imagine how amazing it must be for younger audiences. Speaking of, I’d forgotten how many children are in The Nutcracker, and even I, not a fan of small humans, have to admit the little ones were adorably cute, especially the singing angels given to Clara by her uncle and godfather Drosselmeyer – who knows the power of a dramatic and flamboyant cloak. Given the resounding applause they received, I reckon this is the beginning of a lifetime on stage. Add to that being in such proximity to the adult and principal dancers and it’s a fairy tale come true.

From the press release: “The Nutcracker is set on Christmas Eve at a celebratory gathering of family, friends and children, as an enigmatic story unfolds. The children receive their special gifts, and Clara is beguiled by her very unusual nutcracker doll. She falls asleep holding her new friend, and dreams that she saves the doll’s life in a “fierce” battle against The Mouse King.  The doll magically transforms into a handsome prince, who whisks Clara away to the Kingdom of the Sweets through the Land of Snow.  The enigmatic Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes Clara and the Prince to her land as special guests and treats them to a spectacular display of the world’s most wonderful delectable indulgences in the captivating Kingdom of the Treats.

“Celebrating the 130th anniversary of the premiere of this charming ballet story, the dynamic dancers of Cape Town City Ballet will be accompanied by Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Brandon Phillips at select performances. Following nationwide auditions, 40 children at each show have the chance to delight audiences as they perform alongside the company.” 

Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-A-Seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket. The production is suitable for 4 years and over. 

Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of all sponsors including the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market, Erica Manning for the Cape Town City Ballet Endowment Trust, The Christian Ludolph Marais Trust and the Friends of Cape Town City Ballet.   

Facebook: @ctcityballet | Instagram: @CapeTownCityBallet |Twitter:@BalletCape

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