I may not be someone who likes to celebrate the Christmas festivities this early in November, but I could not resist the opportunity to see “The Nutcracker” performed live on the stage of Luhrs Performing Arts Center (LPAC) by The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine. After all, it is a yearly tradition at LPAC for a reason.
It is a classic tale — a young girl on the night of Christmas Eve is gifted a nutcracker, and soon said toy soldier becomes a handsome prince. The two travel to a magical world of sugar plum fairies and mice soldiers all set to the legendary score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It is a time-honored story perfect for the whole family.
However, I will be the first to admit that I have never seen a live stage production of “The Nutcracker’’ before this performance. Thankfully, the State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine put on a truly magical performance. The cast from its youngest to its oldest members are magnificent, and the choreography by Andrey Litvinov is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
It was a performance that truly made me appreciate the art form of ballet and the insane amount of skill and physical training it must take to pull off some of the stunts and moves these performers were demonstrating. The sets, though simplistic, were delightfully creative and utilized the Luhrs stage perfectly, and every ounce of this show oozes with that warm Christmas spirit.
It should also be appreciated that this touring group was even able to give us this performance given the turmoil in their native country. So, we not only gave them a standing ovation for their performance that night, but also stood with them for facing these hard times and continuing to do what they love through all of it.
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