This archived article was written by: Laura Strate
The College of Eastern Utah Dance Department presents their annual production of the “Nutcracker” and the “Grinch” next week. These two presentations have become a tradition of the ballet company over the past years.
The “Nutcracker” is based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman, but little of the original story was used for the ballet version. In 1891, composer Peter Illyich Tchaukovsky began work on the original score. Though he wrote well known music for “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty”, the “Nutcracker” was Tchaikowsky’s third and final ballet.
The first showing of the “Nutcracker” was in 1892 at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Many changes have been adapted to the orginal choreography.
The closest production of the orginal is performed by the Royal Ballet’s current version. The story is set in Western Europe in the 1800s.
A large party is being held by Hans Stahlbaum, the major and a doctor. The godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, presents the doctor’s two young children, Clara and fritz, with gifts. Clara receives the nutcracker.
After a small fight between the children, the nutcracker is brocken. Drosselmeyer fixes it and assures Clara all will be well.
That night, Clara has a magical dream that her nutcracker has turned into a handsome prince. Her prince saves her from the evil Mouse King, and the story moves to a winter wonderland then to the ‘”Kingdom of the Sweets”.
The “Nutcracker” shows many creative and enchanting characters. A wide variety of dance numbers are presented by characters such as the “Chinese”, “Arabian”, ‘Snowflakes”, and many more.
The “Nutcracker” has two large ensemble numbers: the “Dance of the Snowflakes” and the “Dance of the
Flowers”. One of the most recognizable musicial pieces is for the “Dance of the Sugar plum Fairy”.
The CEU cast is Melba Studge, Cameron Hansen, Mellissa Wood, Annika Hansen, Rachel Jenson, Neil Warren, Angela Curtis, Megan Kulow, Phryne Elison, Natalle Ewell, Kitani King, Preston Wood, Dr. Jeff Hansen, Troy Hunt, Gary Bosshardt, Darryl Bosshardt, Megan Sonntagg, Henry Sanchez, Nathan Swasey, Christina Scow and Stephanie Cha.
One special performer is Sargent Jason Faulkner. Faulkner recently returned from Iraq. He will be playing the roles of a soldier, guest parent, basket carrier, and a Trepac.
The “Nutcracker” wil be performed November 18th-20th and the 22th. The “Grinch” will be presented on the 29th-30th in Helper. Carolyn Gwyther is the artistic director for the production.