Arts & Culture » Stage

Ballet Idaho's The Nutcracker

Dec. 9-11


What's not to love about nutcrackers? They're helpful dolls that crack open snacks for you with their weird painted faces, while adding some festive flair to your holiday decor. And the name appeals to those with a juvenile sense of humor--utter the word "nutcracker" around a bunch of high-school freshmen, or your "that's what she said" uncle who's desperately clinging to his youth, and wait for the snickering.

And then there's the infamous ballet, which is almost as much an American Christmas tradition as Santa and silly songs about snowmen. Ballet Idaho will stage its rendition of the holiday classic Friday, Dec. 9-Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. Watch the talented company members pirouette around dancing holiday confections--in Act II, Spanish Chocolate, Chinese Tea, Arabian Coffee, French Marzipan, Russian Nougat, Salt Water Taffy Sailors and the Dewdrop Fairy all perform for Clara, the girl whose dream is the basis of the ballet.

Sugarplum fairies, mice and toy soldiers abound in this adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Nutcracker and Mouse King, which was later redone by the famed Three Musketeers writer Alexandre Dumas in his Tale of The Nutcracker. Dumas' version remains the story on which most ballet performances are based. More than 100 years after these bits of literary genius were put to paper, The Nutcracker continues to be a holiday favorite.

Although performances of the classic vary by company, Ballet Idaho will maintain a plethora of the ballet's traditional elements--the Sugarplum Fairy and the Cavalier will perform a beautiful pas de deux, and there's the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King and a trip to the Land of Sweets.

The dancers will perform the choreography of Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, that crazy-talented Russian who's also behind the beloved ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet. Boise Philharmonic will perform Tchaikovsky's music, and a slew of children will accompany Ballet Idaho dancers on stage. A goody bag of milk and cookies will be available following the matinee performances. [ Video is no longer available. ]