Joel Woellner and Lina Kim
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography by Ben Stevenson
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Nigel Gaynor
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: December 8-16. Bookings at www.qpac.com.au or 136246
It’s Christmas time again and for the Queensland ballet dancers it’s on with the tutus and get ready for the annual Queensland Ballet production of The Nutcracker. Each year I wonder if I will be entertained and each year yes, I am. This year was no exception.
It is such a pretty show to watch with fabulous costumes and great dance routines. It is a production that has retained its charm and vibrancy.
With having such a strong company is the principal and specialist roles take on a new personality with each new dancer. This keeps the ballet sharp and fresh.
A good example is the sugar Plum Fairy. On the night I attended she was danced by Australian newcomer to the company Lucy Green. What a find she is. She had terrific presence onstage and her dancing was superb with beautiful line and perfect balance and pointe work. She was partnered by Camilo Ramos who did a repeat performance as as The Prince. Interestingly it was the strength of partnerships that made the night outstanding, there was absolute trust on stage and it showed in every aspect of the dance.
The ballet is filled with many magical moments, comedy, and an element of simple fear for the children. The set is bright and stunning, it is fabulously costumed and lit (by David Walters); the choreography is brilliant and in the festive opening dancers young and old mill around in thoroughly organised chaos at the Stahlbaum Christmas party.
The Stahlbaum children Clara and Fritz welcome the guests while some mischievous boys cause trouble. This year Teri Crilly danced Clara and because she is an experienced and talented dancer we saw fresh aspects in a role that does not call for a lot of dance. She created a delightful wonder-filled child.
The magician Dr Drossellmeyer was danced by Jack Lister. He was a dark character, a tricky conjuror with his magic tricks, and mechanical dolls, Harlequin and Columbine and the Nurse and Soldier. This provided a fun-filled interlude and the roles were realistically danced by Rian Thompson and Tamara Hanton, as Harlequin and Columbine while the Nurse Doll was danced nicely by Neneka Yoshida, who was Clara last year, and her partner the Soldier Doll danced by Zhi Fong.
After the children had unwrapped their gifts, Dr Drossellmeyer gave Clara her special present, the wooden nutcracker. Bad boy Fritz broke the figure but it was soon repaired. Fritz really landed in hot water when he gave Clara a box that contained a dead rat.
The party ended and Clara went to sleep and dreams.
The Nutcracker then came to life danced by Alexander Idaszac, the rats creep in and the battle commences in as the rodents take on the toy soldiers who with the aid of Clara win the slapstick battle.
After the fight the Nutcracker turns into a handsome prince and he takes Clara off to the Land of the Snowflakes. This is an eerily beautiful setting where he dances with Lina Kim as the Snow Queen which saw Lina reprise her role from last year and once again stunned us with beautiful movement as they pair wove in intricate patterns through the enchanting Snowflakes.
Clara then flew to the Kingdom of Sweets in an enchanted sledge where she was greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, who then brought on the entertainment, which was familiar and yet again so different in concept.
There were the Spanish Dancers and the gorgeous flowers, and the Arabian and Chinese dances and Zhi Fong’s reprised acrobatic Russian dance.
Finally, after the proliferation of tutus and chiffon with the always gorgeous Waltz of the Flowers, which again showed some great precision dancing from the company, it was the turn of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince to dance Grand Pas de Deux Adagio.
It was a delight to watch the pair at work.
At curtain the audience that packed the Lyric Theatre to the gills gave a warm reception to the dancers following another entertaining Nutcracker.