The holiday season has officially begun, with the opening performance of The Nutcracker by Miami City Ballet. The company has been dancing George Balanchine's dream of militant rats and dancing snowflakes every holiday season since 1990. Just like a seat in Santa's lap, the setting is always the same, but the gifts are different each year.
This year I sat in the third tier at the Adrienne Arsht Center for a more panoramic perspective. Up there, most of the rows were taken by parents or grandparents with toddlers in enormous tulle skirts with velvet bodices. The costumes worn by these tiny ballet fans rivaled those of the little girls and boys playing party guests on stage.
But the Nutcracker kids were hard to beat for adorable. My favorite part was the parade of angels that opens the second act, where little girls in wings glided across the stage, beaming so wide you could sense their excitement from the balconies.
The first act of The Nutcracker sets up the story of little Marie,
who receives a toy nutcracker for Christmas. The second act is when most of
the dancing happens: the fantastic creatures in the realm of the Sugar
Plum Fairy come out to dance for Marie, which is a great excuse for
showing off Miami City Ballet's talent.
The corps made
Balanchine's well-known Snowflake and Flower formations seem fresh and
wondrous.The women especially are allowed to shine. Marzipan
Shepherdess Jennifer Lauren looked like a Degas painting come to life. Dew Drop
Jeanette Delgado thrilled the crowd with her vigorous turns and
But the dancer who most stunned the crowd, as she so often
does, was Jennifer Kronenberg, eliciting gasps in the famous moment when
the Sugar Plum Fairy hovers in arabesque while her Cavalier (Carlos
Miguel Guerra) draws her, as though gliding on ice, across the floor.
what's made The Nutcracker such an enduring tradition: you may know
what's coming, but the beauty of Miami City Ballet's execution
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astonishes just the same.
The Nutcracker runs through Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd. (then moves to Broward and Palm Beach); tickets range from $20 to $68. Call 305-929-7010 or visit miamicityballet.org. Tickets can also be purchased at Arsht Center, 305-949-6722 or arshtcenter.org.
--Celeste Fraser Delgado, artburstmiami.com