By Julie McCay Turner
Apart from its time-honored story, holiday productions of The Nutcracker are prized for the number of roles for young dancers. This year four Bedford students are involved: Isabelle Gittins and Ava Valentine are Mice in the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre production, and Koa Chun and Peter Simonini who are both dancing with the Boston Ballet.
Both Kao and Peter study at the Boston Ballet School; this is the second year that Koa has danced the role of Fritz, although he has danced with the company for several more years, and the second year that Peter has performed in The Nutcracker. The Jose Mateo company holds open auditions for its dancers.
E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original story was performed with music by Tchaikovsky as a 20-minute ‘sketch’ at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre in December, 1892. While it wasn’t an overnight success, over time the piece became the classic base for today’s performances, and even video games according to Wikipedia.
The Nutcracker offers the stuff of holiday dreams: a festive family party; the giant Christmas tree rising as if by magic; Clara’s toy nutcracker turning into a handsome prince; the Mouse King and his army; dancing snowflakes, dewdrops and flowers; Mother Ginger and the Polichinelles; and the Sugar Plum Fairy in her glistening tutu.
The Nutcracker is underway this month, with Boston Ballet performances at the Opera House through December 31, and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre performances at the Cutler Majestic Theatre until December 4 and at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester through December 18.
- Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker
- Boston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker
Editor’s Note: This story was corrected on 12/2/2016 to properly reflect all four of the young Bedford students who are dancing in Boston productions of The Nutcracker this year. Congratulations to Ava, Isabel, Koa and Peter!