Do you have a holiday sweet tooth? This year, the visions of sugar plums that dance through Austin will look a little different than year’s past. For the 51st annual production of Ballet Austin’s Nutcracker, attendees will experience an entirely transformed vision. The tutus are fuller, the tiaras have more glitter, and the sets are covered in sprinkles. Even the rats are furrier. This year, the Nutcracker features an entirely new compliment of costumes and sets!
It can be scary when treasured holiday rituals experience a change. But nervous ballet-goers can take heart in the knowledge that every adjustment and addition was subject to careful consideration of the tradition of the original Nutcracker story. According to Timothy Dillon, Ballet Austin’s Marketing Director, the costumes themselves are a closer reflection of contemporary styles for the period. (For interested persons, the clothing in the party scene now reflects a more 1830’s style versus the 1810’s style of the former costumes).
The entire compliment of 200 new costumes are a vast improvement to the well-loved wardrobe of Nutcrackers Past. There is even a new character, Drosselmeyer’s nephew, who appears in the original text and earlier versions of the ballet.
I was fortunate to attend the tech rehearsal of the ballet, during which the carefully practiced ballet is matched with lighting, set cues and effects. As a regular attendee of the Christmas-themed performance, it was fascinating to see the careful timing necessary to create a seamless Nutcracker experience. Posting photos of Mother Ginger without her top would not be appropriate, but I will never forget that vision.
Even if you aren’t excited by tulle and tutus, the drama of the new sets is hard to deny. The magical growing Christmas Tree has now become the focus of the first Act, and the surrounding set pieces seem to melt away as it towers above them. The set has become interactive for Act II, with floating ornaments to symbolize each of the dances. Sadly, there are some distractingly ugly trees in the snow forest, but perhaps they won’t survive the cold winter.
Whether you are an annual attendee or a new recruit, I highly recommend you make time to witness this extra-shiny Austin tradition this year!
The Ballet Austin Nutcracker runs through December 23, 2013 and the additional holiday excitement created by all the glittery additions is sure to create a rush. I recommend buying your tickets early!
Have you attended a Ballet Austin Nutcracker performance before?
Photos courtesy of Tony Spielberg.