I want to be a ballerina when I grow up. There I said it. Never mind that the aspiration has come some 20 years too late, I have neither the disipline or the grace and while I always try and cite my history of dance (bronze tap dancer over here folks) I'm painfully aware I have two left feet. Never the less, after seeing Scottish Ballet's The Nutcracker, I want to be a ballet dancer.
It's quite a fete to capture the excitement of Christmas early January. The decorations are down, sales are on and everyone is back at work, and the world just seems a little bit greyer. The Nutcracker however provided full blown fantastical escapisim. It's not just the iconic score or the gorgeous costumes, no no no, there is something about The Nutcracker that manages to capture this childish delight that seems long forgotten. Magic tricks, presents, candy canes and snowflakes - it's high fantasy as it's best.
The highlights for me had to be the pas de deux in the Act 2, which without fail brings me to the brink of tears every time. It's got this gorgeous tone of sadness about it and it's just truly and utterly captivating and the Waltz of the Snowflakes which was just utterly gorgeous.
The biggest surprise for me had to be how fantastic the children in the
cast were. Of course our lead dancers are going to be amazing, but to
have so many children on stage, performing a demanding ballet alongside
seasoned professionals and managing to be charming, well, even the most
hardened cynic would have a hard time finding the young Clara and her
brother Fritz (a real stand out) anything other than delightful.
I run the risk of gushing but words like gorgeous, splendid, delightful don't really begin to quite describe the magic The Nutcracker, and indeed Scottish Ballet's Nutcracker distills in to a two hour performance. It's pure eye candy. From the set to the costumes to the dancers themselves, it really is something else.
It may seem counter-intuitive to see such a festive ballet in the new year, but I urge you to put your preconceptions aside, and revisit the magic with a truly spectacular show.
Aberdeen, Inverness, Newcastle - get booking.