Tulsa Ballet's Nutcracker

Thursday, December 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It's been a part of Oklahoma's holiday tradition for more than 30 years, Tulsa Ballet's annual production of "The Nutcracker."

But when the curtain goes up Friday night, audiences will see an entirely new Nutcracker, from costumes to choreography to the story itself. News on 6 anchor Glenda Silvey has a preview.

There are glimpses of the traditional Nutcracker story, a young girl, but not named Clara this time, instead Marie, a ballet student at Paris Opera in the 1920's. The party scene takes place in a grand ballroom instead of a cozy house, with dancers attired in elegant flapper style. And the changes just keep coming in Tulsa Ballet's new production of the Nutcracker.

The company decided to retire its old production last year, as needed repairs would have been too costly. Artistic Director Marcello Angelini says he wanted to create something with the pace and look of a Broadway show. "A show that everybody can like whether they like ballet or not. Something that is visually astonishing, something that is choreographically difficult, hard, and exciting, and something that is over before you can say, 'oh it's really nine o'clock tonight."

Children are cast as mice and soldiers, as in the past, though not as many, and there are changes in the use of the Tchaikovsky score. And then there's the choreography.

Dancers worldwide are known to grow bored with dancing Nutcracker year after year. Angelini made sure to choreograph a ballet that keeps them interested.

Dancer Alfonso Martin: "It's more challenging. Marcello knows the company and he knows what to give the audience and he challenges the dancers in the new Nutcracker. I think the audience will appreciate that."

Dancer Daniella Buson: "We love to dance it. It's very different."

Angelini says replacing a wonderful holiday tradition has been both exciting and terrifying. Audiences in Knoxville and Fayetteville gave the new Nutcracker standing ovations in recent performances there. The cast and company hope it goes over as well with the folks here at home.

The Oklahoma premiere of Tulsa Ballet's new Nutcracker is Friday night at 7 PM. There will be six evening performances and four matinees December 12th through 21st.

For tickets, call 749-6006 or 596-7111 or log on to www.tulsapac.com.