Is anyone going to see Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker this year? I have not been for many years, so was looking forward to today's performance. I love the Fox Theater. It is designed to make you feel as though you are sitting in an outdoor Medeval Theater, complete with turret walls and stars in the sky.
Atlanta's Nutcracker is set in Russia, so costumes and sets are different than any other Nutcracker I've seen. Very unusal, but very beautiful. I have to say, with the exception of Christine Winkler and John Welker, who were beautiful to watch as "Ballerina Marya" and the "Prince", the rest of the dancing was a bit disappointing.
Professionals were cast only in lead dancing roles and corps were mostly students. The little ones, who were cast as soldiers, various roles in the Party Scene, ponchinelles, etc. mostly looked under rehearsed. A number of times they were looking to each other for stage direction and looked a little lost. Jonah Hooper, Mark Kopystianskyj and Tian Shuai were very funny as "Trepak" with all sorts of tumbling and antics. Definitely a highlight of the show.
I was most surprised by Stacey Slichter, a seasoned dancer with Atlanta Ballet, who danced Dew Drop. She is very athletic and very dynamic, but I felt as though I was watching a collegiate gymnast more than a ballet dancer.
I also would have loved to see more of John Welker. He was excellent, but didn't have as big of solo as I would have expected.
I have to say I was a little disappointed. Next year I would love to fly to New York or Chicago and see another version.