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Concert Paper

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Submitted By jenay23
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In Act 1 of the nutcracker it started with Herr Stahlbaum and his wife is giving a Christmas Party. Clara and Fritz, their children, greet the guests. The parents give toys to all the children. Suddenly, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer arrives and entertains the children with his magical tricks and wind-up dolls. Dr. Drosselmeyer brings a special gift for Clara - a wooden nutcracker. In a jealous fit, Fritz breaks it. Dr. Drosselmeyer quickly repairs it. The party ends, the guests leave, and the Stahlbaums retire for the night. Clara awakens as a mouse runs through her room. The clock strikes midnight. Suddenly, the room fills with giant mice that attack Clara. Life-size toy soldiers, led by her valiant Nutcracker, come to her rescue. The King Rat attacks the Nutcracker, but Clara hits him with her shoe and the Nutcracker wins the battle. After the battle, the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince. The Nutcracker Prince turns the Stahlbaums house into the Land of Snow. The Snow Queen and the Nutcracker Prince dance with the Snowflakes. Clara and the Nutcracker Prince depart for the Kingdom of Sweets in an enchanted sleigh. The dances moves were so peaceful it makes them grab your attention and it was smooth, and balance. It made me think that they wanted the audience to dance with them, and it made me grind my teeth and shift in my seats. It certainly did me when I began to go to see "The Nutcracker," though I must admit he loved it and laughed delightedly. Clara's family in this version was wealthy, and I remember the women in the Act I party scene wearing elegant décolleté gowns festooned with pearls, feathers in our hair, and lots of jewelry. The men wore velvet tailcoats, and the "Dance of the Parents" in Act I was quite stately. The uproar caused by the riotous boys (often played by girls dressed in long pants in those days, because of a dearth of boy students in the Houston Ballet Academy) was calmly dealt with by regal parents. The feeling the dancers get from an audience at "The Nutcracker" is distinctive because of the presence of so many children. Their reactions to the stage action are free and spontaneous, and you can often feel - and hear, if a little one just can't keep still - the sense of wonder emanating from the audience. It makes the magic of the tree growing, the Battle Scene raging, even just the Sugar Plum rising onto pointe exciting, even for the most jaded backstage denizen, who has seen it all before, perhaps hundreds of times. In Act 2 Clara and the Nutcracker Prince continue their journey across the Lemonade Sea. When they arrive in the Kingdom of Sweets, the cooks are preparing delectable treats for their arrival. They are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. In Clara's honor, the Sugar Plum Fairy arranges for the inhabitants of her kingdom to entertain them while they eat: chocolate, a Spanish Dance; coffee, an Arabian Dance; and tea, a Chinese Dance. Clara is also entertained by the dance of the Mirlitons, a dance with Madame Bonbonaire and her clowns, a Russian dance, and the Waltz of the Flowers. Then, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince dance a grand pas de deux. As the celebration draws to a close, Clara drifts off to sleep. She awakens in bed, as the Nutcracker Prince salutes his princess Clara. Nothing concentrates a dancer's mind, body and soul like having to conquer a difficult series of turns or become a character completely unlike herself. I thought of Lauran when she told us that she certainly found that true as when she was given larger roles over the years, and eventually was cast as both the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy for several years in Ben Stevenson's two productions of "The Nutcracker."

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