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Ballet Chicago's 2018 Nutcracker Dec. 7-9 & 14-16, Athenaeum Theater

Jack Reed

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A look at the forum shows I've been commenting on this production for thirteen years now.  It's a little different each time, and I won't know what changes to report about this year's until I catch up with it, which I surely will.

Long story short, I was underwhelmed by the complicated and fussy new Wheeldon version for the Joffrey Ballet last season, and I looked forward to B.C.'s more dancey, more musical approach as an antidote - although to be fair it must be said that as B.C. is primarily a school, one of the best Balanchine-oriented ballet schools in the country, as far as I know, with slightly younger dancers than Joffrey, the seasoned strength in excellence of the professional Joffrey performers - from the top of the large cast right down to the smallest role (and on down into the orchestra pit) is not likely fully matched - B.C.'s values are considerable: This Nutcracker is about dance and music!  (It's value for money, too, at $30 a ticket, for adults.  They can do this because the dancers are the school's better students and alumni, and the music is from carefully-selected recordings.)  And when they dance, they reveal that the line between student and professional can be pretty fuzzy.

So check it out: Evening shows are on December 7, 8, 14, and 15 at 7:00, matinees on December 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 2:00, and the Athenaeum Theater is at the intersection of Lincoln, Wellington, and Southport Avenues in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

Want more preview?  Helene kindly posted some images here a few years ago, maybe even better, there are some clips up on Vimeo, and the whole first act is up on YouTube:

The Party guests arrive: 

The KIngdom of Snow:



Waltz of the Flowers:

On Ballet Chicago's Nutcracker page there are yet more images (in no particular order).  (If you want to control the slide show, click on an image.)

Edited by Jack Reed
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