The Nutcracker Ballet is one of the most famous Christmas traditions in the theatrical world.
Although it has been performed time and time again, the basic plot remains the same; a young German girl dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and battles a Mouse King with seven heads. The story may sound strange, but that is what makes The Nutcracker Ballet fascinating. The intricate weaving of music, dancing, a creative story and Christmas spirit strikes the heart of nearly every person who sees it.
This year, CSB/SJU is bringing in the Minnesota Ballet to perform the Nutcracker Ballet on campus.
“This allows students, staff and community members to experience something the size and scale of a big city while staying local,” said Leslie Hanlon, Director of Fundraising and Marketing. “It is rare for a ballet company to perform with a live orchestra, this gives our orchestral students a unique and special experience as well.”
David Arnott, director of the student orchestra, has been working really hard with his students.
“We spend half a semester preparing the 90 minutes of music it takes to perform the work. I am most excited by the fact that the orchestra is already playing very well a month out from the performances,” Arnott said.
“I’ve never played with a live performance before. We’ve both rehearsed separately, so to see us come together will be really interesting,” said sophomore bass player Mitch Konkel.
The Minnesota Ballet performs the Nutcracker Ballet every year. CSB/SJU has organized this event twice in the past, the last show was in 2011. Ignited with Christmas spirit, students have enthusiastically attended these events.
“It’s really special because it’s the Minnesota Ballet. The music is really fun to play and I can’t wait to see how the audience reacts,” said Kenzie Krause, sophomore clarinet player.
In 2011 both shows sold out. Many students volunteered to help with the show because of the massive size of the production.
“The best part of playing Nutcracker here is that we will undoubtedly play for two full house audiences,” Arnott said. “Don’t wait to buy your tickets. The early show is almost sold out already. This is an absolutely epic event. I don’t believe there is another undergraduate orchestra in the entire country playing a full Nutcracker with a professional ballet company dancing on stage above.”
“I love the dreamlike quality of the Nutcracker,” says Hanlon. “There is a sense of community and holiday, it’s really exciting. It’s such a quintessential art experience. Whether you grow up in New York or California and you could have seen this. It is unifying, I love hearing music from the Nutcracker in random places around the holiday season; once you know it, you understand the reach that the Nutcracker has had.”
The Nutcracker Ballet performances will be Dec. 14 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Escher auditorium in the Benedicta Arts Center. You can order tickets on the Fine Arts Programming page on the CSB/SJU website (http://www.csbsju.edu/fine-arts/performing-arts/the-nutcracker-1314.htm).