Dressed for the Holidays: How We Attended The Nutcracker Dress Rehearsal at Boston Ballet

By Victoria@celebratetheweekend
In Arts, Dance and Theater
Nov 28th, 2016
3 Comments
3115 Views

“Why do you keep wanting to see The Nutcracker after so many times?”

Vi, 7: “It’s because each time they do it better!”

Indeed, attending The Nutcracker at Boston Ballet is our city’s (and ours!) beloved holiday tradition. This season marks the fifth anniversary of Mikko Nissenen’s (Boston Ballet’s Creative Director) lighter and shorter version of Tchaikovsky’s 19th century holiday classic (prior versions have been performed by Boston Ballet for at least 20 years!).  The very first Nutcracker ballet was staged by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov for Maryinsky Theater of St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892.

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Seo Hye Han and Paul Craig as Snow Queen and King in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Our Nutcracker holiday memories will be even more special this year as my daughter and I were invited to attend the Dress Rehearsal which happened on the same day as the season’s November 25th opening performance.

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Vi with the Mouse King during the intermission

“How was the dress rehearsal different from a regular performance night?”

Vi: “They sometimes made mistakes, which they cannot do during the real show…and even if they did make mistakes, they would go on!”

Attending a dress rehearsal at the Boston Ballet is one of the best things  about being a blogger.  It truly is a privilege to see the act of artistic creation – right in front of you.  There are no “show stopping” corrections happening during the dress rehearsal -so it feels like a regular performance, complete with full sets and costumes (by Robert Perdziola, who also designed Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake).  But the front of the theater  is empty and  it feels almost intimate – as if the artists are dancing just for you.  You could also see (and occasionally hear) Mikko Nissinen and his crew of ballet masters and stage staff exchanging last minute production observations.  And then it becomes even more “real” after the curtain call, when the staff climbs on stage with the dancers for the “in-person” corrections.

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Three hours to show time: last minute touch-ups.

The 43-performance run of the Nutcracker is the longest-running production in the Boston Ballet’s season; it includes the full company of 57 dancers, 13 Boston Ballet II dancers, and 224 Boston Ballet School students.  There will be many dancer debuts in new roles, as well as the opportunities to dance as soloists and principals.

My daughter loved posing with the dancers at the intermission.

Attending Nutcracker Ballet’s Dress Rehearsal

With Caralin Curcio as a Flower

 

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Flower Dance: Ashley Ellis as Dew Drop (in center) and Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

 

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Lia Cirio (Arabian Dancer) with Vi

… and here she is on stage:

 

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Lia Cirio and Lasha Khozashvili of Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

 

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Boston Ballet Principal Dancers Eris Nexha (Drosselmeier) and Petra Conti (dressed as a Sugar Plum Fairy) during the meet and greet

It is interesting to see how kids notice different details each time they see the show.  Last year my daughter surprised me by remembering that the snow flakes in the famous Snow Scene will start falling “on the count of ten”.  And this year she remembered the exact order of folk dances in the second act: “It is how they have lined up!” she explained.   (Mother Ginger and the little clowns hiding under her skirt are still her favorites.)

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Boston Ballet’s (L to R, foreground) Lawrence Rines, Isaac Akiba, and Mamuka Kikalishvili in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

The Nutcracker  is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.  It is a perfect starter ballet, and is recommended for kids five and older (infants younger than two are not allowed into the theater and everyone requires a ticket).  If you need a refresher on the synopsis, read the full story here as you may want to prepare the little ones for what they  will see on stage.

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Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet

This year’s run in Boston Opera House is through December 31.  The show is approximately two hours with an intermission.  For tickets and performance times, go to Boston Ballet’s web page.

 

This post is linking up with the collection of international culture and travel stories:

the Pigeon Pair and Me

3 Comments to “Dressed for the Holidays: How We Attended The Nutcracker Dress Rehearsal at Boston Ballet”

  1. […] We have traditionally started the season with attending the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet over Thanksgiving break.  This year we were invited to the Dress Rehearsal and had a chance to witness the creative process and see the dancers up close and personal.  (Read our report here). […]

  2. What an incredible treat! You’re right – as bloggers, we do get to experience some incredible things. To see the mechanics of the creative process must have been thrilling. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids!
    Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…#CulturedKids December 2016My Profile

  3. What an absolute treat for your little girl! This is an experience that she will surely remember for many years to come. Coincidentally, I’m taking my two girls to a (scaled down) version of the Nutcracker on Saturday. I’m sure they will love it, and I’m going to take your excellent advice of telling them a plot synopsis before the performance.
    Thanks, and greetings from Luxembourg #CulturedKids
    Jonny (Daisy the bus) recently posted…Cartography in ConnemaraMy Profile

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