The Nutcracker dazzles children’s eyes, but it also confirms their deep suspicion that toys come to life, even when no one is looking or poking them repeatedly with cattle prods. Feel the season’s electricity with this GrouponLive deal to see South Bay Ballet present The Nutcracker at Marsee Auditorium at the ECC Center for the Arts on Friday, December 14, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Choose between the following seating options:
- For $15, you get one ticket for general admission (up to a $30 value).
- For $25, you get one ticket for reserved seating in the center orchestra (up to a $50 value).
Based on a novel by the 19th-century romantic fabulist E. T. A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure. Slightly altering the original setup, South Bay Ballet presents the event as a bedtime story, told by Clara—the traditional heroine—as a grandmother lulling her charges to sleep. She weaves her tale of a girl who receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, the girl suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a sword to the Rat King's head, she and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets to celebrate amid the dances of nimble snowflakes and the regal Sugar Plum Fairy.
Tchaikovsky’s score features some of the most recognizable tunes in music, repurposed beyond the ballet world in works including Disney's Fantasia, which naturally chose to illustrate the music’s delicate beauty with dancing mushrooms and leaping radishes. Notable sections include the Waltz of the Snowflakes, which floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, and the second act's medley of exotic national dances, including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy's music-box-like theme springs from a celesta, a new instrument Tchaikovsky came across in Paris and hurriedly inserted into the score before his musical rivals could make use of its haunting, bell-like sound.
Initially unpopular when it premiered in Russia, the Nutcracker languished for decades with a reputation as one of Tchaikovsky's lesser works. Then, in the 1950s, the ballet’s status as a fixture of the holiday season began to grow as suddenly as Clara’s magic Christmas tree, when renowned American choreographer George Balanchine staged it for the New York Ballet. South Bay Ballet continues this holiday tradition, letting the aspiring professionals of the school show off their stuff on the big stage.
South Bay Ballet
South Bay Ballet strives to further the great traditions of ballet by bolstering the skills of the next generation of dancers. A pre-professional company, the organization has its roots firmly anchored in classical techniques, though incorporates contemporary anatomical and kinesthetic principles to ensure its dancers remain on the forefront of the medium. Beyond its dancers, South Bay Ballet strives to inspire and enrich the community, staging a series of classic and modern pieces for the benefit of the general public and hard-hearted stagehands.