Watching a Dream Unfold: The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center

By Molly Scott

Every holiday season, my family would go to see our town’s local production of The Nutcracker. Each time, I would fall in love with the ballet’s unmistakable music, beautiful costumes, and exquisite dancing. However, it has always been a dream of mine to see the world-famous Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and upon coming to Barnard, that dream came true.

Simply walking inside of the David H. Koch Theater of Lincoln Center was magnificent. We were seated in the third ring of the theater and even though we were pretty high up, we could see the stage perfectly. As the lights dimmed and the live orchestra began playing the infamous melody of the overture, I knew this was going to be the most incredible production of The Nutcracker I had ever seen.

As the curtain rose, little Clara and her brother Fritz waited for their family Christmas party to start. The costumes of both the adults and children at the party were bright, colorful, and very merry. Each dancer at the party wore a different colored dress with elaborate designs. The plot’s action truly began when the frightening Godfather Drosselmeyer gave Clara a beautiful nutcracker doll. When Clara falls asleep with the nutcracker under her arm, the godfather comes back, puts a spell on the nutcracker doll, and Clara begins to dream.

Mice and little soldiers start battling and the nutcracker comes to life to save Clara, and leads her into the snowy pine forest. This part of the production astounded me. There were huge pine trees and white snow fell from the ceiling as the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” began. This snow seemed more realistic and beautiful than I have seen in other productions. Also, these “snowflake” ballerinas were absolutely impeccable dancers, and their costumes were nothing but gorgeous. Each ballerina wore a white dress with sparkling silver outlines.

The second act was truly spectacular. Clara continued to watch her dream develop and different groups of dancers performed for her and the nutcracker. The star of all the dancers, however, was the sugar plum fairy and her partner. The dancers hit every mark perfectly and their costumes were so incredibly colorful and perfectly fit to their perfect bodies. This specific production at Lincoln Center includes the world’s best ballerinas, so the grace and control capable of their bodies is really something incredible. The orchestra was pitch perfect and the sound throughout the entire theater (which is huge) was magnificent. I had never seen The Nutcracker with a live orchestra before, and it truly made a difference and the whole production more special.

I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center to go this holiday season before the semester ends. Call it a study break. Clara does have to be the only one to watch a dream unfold—this production was truly a dream come true.

Molly is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photos courtesy of Arts Journal and Naples News.

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