Impressions of the Nutcracker leaves an impression

Veronica Liow, Managing Editor

When asked about what my weekend plans are, the first thing that comes to mind certainly does not come close to attending Impression of the Nutcracker, a ballet show performed by the San Ramon Valley Dance Academy. Even as a person who did ballet for four years, that style of dance does not arouse any excitement from within.

Yet I found myself one evening on Dec. 13 running into the Performing Arts Center, trying to escape the heavy rain that threatened to wetten my freshly blow dried hair. Shortly after scanning the room for seat O137, I allowed myself to get warm and comfy against the soft cushions of the chair.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., as stated on the program, the lights dimmed and the show began.

The show starts off with a little girl named Clara (Abigail Nguyen), who is gifted a Nutcracker Prince by her relative, Herr Drosselmeyer (Ed Farley). When the clock strikes 12 and all are asleep, the Mouse King (Diana Morisoli) enters in an attempt to kidnap Clara. However, Clara’s Nutcracker Prince (Jasper Stanford) comes to life and fends off the Mouse King, ultimately saving Clara from harm’s way. For the remainder of the night, the Prince brings Clara to the Kingdom of the Snow, where she meets the kind-hearted Snow Queen (Deedee Jiang). The Snow Queen then proceeds to introduce her to the various characters in the kingdom, which include Bo-Peep (Kyra Sakamoto), Peppermint Candy (Clara Stanford), and more. To show their gratitude for defeating the Mouse King, the various characters each perform a dance in Clara’s honor, starting with the Russian Licorice (Megan Hoefs, Alexis Iritani, Amanda Li, Matthew Serrano, and David Temprano) and ending with the Sugar Plum Fairy (Sarah Joo). When the performances end, the Nutcracker Prince brings Clara back into her home, where she falls asleep soundly after a wonderful night.

Though the plot provided a background story, the main takeaway from the show is the dances, all of which were, for the most part, beautifully performed and in sync. Each dance clearly had a certain atmosphere that shook the hearts of the audience members. The vibes from each dance was enhanced mostly through choice of costume and lighting.

Most Notably, the Arabian Coffee (Lena Chien, Alyssa Beaudoin, and Khalia Rehemtulla), were able to emit a fierce aura that amazed many. Through even the pupils of audience members, one could see the tints of red and orange that danced on the bodies of the shiny and nylon costumes, all of which hugged the dancers to their very ribs.

The light pastel pink of Bo-Peep’s incredibly oversized dress and the almost magical white of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu both conveyed a sense of delicacy. While Bo-Peep was seen in a more playful and innocent manner, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her fragile footsteps were seen as if she were walking on glass that at any given moment could break.

During Impressions of the Nutcracker, the choice of lighting helped brighten up the holiday spirit. Filled with shadows of snowy trees and delicious candy canes, the background proved to be as entertaining as the performers.

Filled with performances enhanced by costumes and lighting –as if the extravagant technique of the dancers wasn’t enough– Impressions of the Nutcracker is certainly a must-see show. Though there is curently no set date, check for updates.