Dance Review: THE NUTCRACKER (SF Ballet)

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by Chuck Louden on December 13, 2022

in Dance,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area

This holiday season all over America ballet companies are performing productions of Peter Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker. Ironically it made it’s American premiere here in San Francisco in 1944. The SF Ballet is in its 90th year and Nutcracker is its annual favorite. Families of all ages continue to come year after year. For most people The Nutcracker is their first exposure to the ballet. This current production by Helgi Tommasson has played since 2004. It’s made up of 83 company dancers and 110 SF Ballet School students. Principal Dancers include Nikisha Fogo, Issac Hernadez and Soloist Katherine Barkman.

Clara: Abby Cannon

Opening night the crowds were dressed up in their best holiday fare. The audience was mesmerized the moment the familiar musical score started. Martin West, the musical director and principal conductor led the 65 members of the Nutcracker Orchestra. The magnificent sets (with the 1915 San Francisco backdrop) added to the sense of awe, particularly the Stahlbaums sitting room with the winding staircase in the opening. (Scenic Design by Yeargan). It’s here where we are first introduced to our young heroine Clara as she begins her magical journey with her Nutcracker Prince. The dancing mice, dragon flies, international dancers and the Sugar Plum Fairy dance to fascinate both Clara and the audience.

Martin Pakledinaz’s costumes, for all the dancers were amazing, from the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Russian, Spanish & Chinese dancers, and Uncle Drosselmeyer’s colorful outfit. Seasoned choreographer Heigii Tomasson‘s direction was amazing especially the slow Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the fast Russian Dancers who seemingly flew through the air. The Opera House, decorated with Christmas trees, white lights, and of course many nutcrackers makes for a festive backdrop for many photo ops.

Soldiers: Aria Gerking, Lizzy Steward, Sofia Garcia, Zoie Liang Mao, Alexis Altshuler,
Ruby Rosenquist, Piper O'Leary Herreras, Eve Kaufman, Danica Suverkrubbe

photos © Erik Tomasson

The Nutcracker
San Francisco Ballet
War Memorial Opera House
ends on December 27, 2022
for tickets, call 415.865.2000 or visit SF Ballet

Yuan Yuan Tan

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