GR Ballet’s Nutcracker is a Thrill for Hard Core Ballet Fans and Casual Viewers Alike
Every year I get goosebumps when I take my seat in Devos Performance Hall and the curtain rises to reveal Chris Van Allsburgs’s larger than life illustration of Godfather Drosselmeier. The symphony begins the iconic Nutcracker music and I am transported to one my favorite Grand Rapids Christmas events of the season.
Grand Rapids, not only has an amazing performance hall, but is home to the only professional ballet company in Michigan. Add in native Chris Van Allsburg’s dramatic backdrops, and I think the Grand Rapids Ballet may have the best Nutcracker performance in Michigan.
Choreography, Backdrops, Symphony and Costumes are all On Point
If you have ever felt like you are unsure if the ballet is for you, The Nutcracker is a great first performance to see. While there is no talking or singing, the ballet dancers do a fantastic job using their bodies and facial expressions to draw you into the story. If you’ve never read The Nutcracker, here’s what you need to know:
A young girl named Clara receives a Nutcracker doll from her godfather Drosselmeier, a mysterious toymaker. At night she falls into a dream of an adventure with her beloved new toy. Or is it a dream?
The choreography of the ballet is brillant, The young ballet dancers definitely steal the show during the Christmas party scenes. Most of the party scenes depend on them, and I have always been amazed on how well they do. Acting and dancing in front of such a big crowd can be intimidating, but The Grand Rapids Ballet Company has trained them well.
The Nutcracker Breaks out in Epic Battle, Candy Land Adventures and a Happy Ending
Once Clara falls asleep under the Christmas tree with her nutcracker, the fun begins.
Be prepared to be amazed with the transformation of the room. Everything on stage grows, lights flash, and the music builds. Sitting in the audience you feel like you are shrinking with the set.
At the end of the first Act, I turn to the woman sitting next to me and say, “That was a really good start!” She replies back with “Yes, I am actually a teacher for the Grand Rapids Ballet, and they are doing a wonderful job.”
After buying an ornament during intermission, we return to our seats for the finale, where dancers from around the world take the stage.
My favorite is always the caviar dancers from Russia. It is a very fast-paced dance, and at every performance I have been to, the audience always claps in rhythm. You will be in awe when you see how high the dancers can jump.
At the end, there is a final group dance, expertly choreographed to intertwine all of the dancers, including the Nutcracker and Clara. The final scene leaves the decision up to you, was it really a dream or not?
Fall into Clara’s Dream This Weekend, December 20-22, 2019
Performances are this weekend, December 20-22 and would be the highlight of anyone’s holiday season.
Matinee and night performances are available on both Saturdays and Sundays. The show ran for about 2 hours and included a 20-minute intermission.
There are more children at matinees, with small talk from parents explaining the show, so choose a show based on the group you are attending with.
Souvenirs such as ornaments, books, and Nutcrackers are available. Pictures with Young Clara and one of the mice start at $10.