NUTCRACKER: SheBANG! dancers bring story to life
Published 2:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2015
“Once upon a time, long, long ago, a little girl named Clara lived with her mom and her brother Fritz in a small village in Germany. Clara loved Christmas and each year she looked forward to helping her mom plan a wonderful and very fancy Christmas party for her friends and even for Fritz’s friends. They would decorate the tree, hang their stockings and spend days in the kitchen preparing the most delicious of treats. Then, when Christmas Eve arrived, it would be time for the most special day of Clara’s whole year.
This year, Clara had picked out a beautiful pink dress to wear and had welcomed all of her friends to her home. Fritz had greeted her friends, too. But one thing was sure to make this year’s party extra special. This year Clara’s Uncle Drosslemeyer, who was also her godfather, would be coming from a far away kingdom to attend Clara’s special party. There was something magical about Uncle Drosslemeyer … just wait until you see.”
And on Dec. 17-19 hundreds of people in and around Pike County will “see” the magic E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker” as performed by about 170 dancers from the SheBANG! Dance Studio in Troy and under the direction on Tricia Ratcliffe, studio owner and director, Brooke Terry and Cae Allen.
“We are excited to bring this production to our community,” Ratcliffe said. “We have four school showings and several area schools are bringing kids in to see the show. We turned our script into a coloring book for local school kids so that the teachers could go over the plot and characters and such as a learning tool before coming to the show.”
The SheBANG! Production of “The Nutcracker Suite” is based on the score by Peter Tchaikovsky and the story-coloring book was written by Ratcliffe. As the story goes …
“That night when Clara’s party was over and all of the guests had made their way home, Clara was so exhausted that she curled up on the couch with her Nutcracker and fell fast asleep,” Ratcliffe said.
“But suddenly her enchanted Uncle Drosslemeyer appeared from the darkness and Clara awakened, very startled. The lights on the Christmas tree began to flicker; the presents began to grow larger than life. Then the braches of the tree, one by one, became their own little trees, dancing and singing throughout Clara’s living room.”
The SheBANG! dancers, ages three through 18, will tell the story of that magical Christmas Eve night through a variety of dances – ballet, classical and jazz.
Through the dances, they will tell the story of Clara’s Nutcracker who, on that magical night, had grown taller and “looks more like a handsome prince than a small toy” and how he leads the toy soldiers in a battle against giant mice that scurried across the room.
When the Nutcracker prince defeats the mice and their king, Clara’s living room suddenly turns into a wintry forest and she begins a magical journey into snowy forest filled with dancing showmen and snowflakes. Clara and the Nutcracker were welcomed by a beautiful Snow Queen and ushered into The Land of Sweets.
Trumpets sounded the arrival of Clara and her Prince and there were shouts of welcome from all the sweets. When the Sugar Plum Fairy arrived, the prince told her of the battle between the soldiers and the mice and the Fairy queen invited Clara and the Prince to stay and be entertained by the people of The Land of Sweets. They were treated to Spanish flamenco dances and Russian folk dances and entertained by dancing candy canes. The show ended with a fun and giggly dance by Mother Ginger and her tiny baby clowns.
A sugary shepherdess then played a little Mirliton flute and 10 bigger Mirliton people, who represented a white candy called Marzipan, joined the shepherdess. The visit to The Land of Sweets ended with wonderful dancing and then all of the sweets and candies gathered around Clara and the Prince to say goodbye.
“Clara’s long and fantastic journey was over,” Ratcliffe said. “She had become the princess of her very own charming Nutcracker prince. But as she was whisked out of the Land of The Sweets and back into her own living room, she opened her eyes to wonder if it was all a dream or was her Nutcracker prince still waiting for her. Either way, she couldn’t imagine ever having a Christmas Eve celebration as delightful as that one special magical night.”
Ratcliffe said her hopes — and those of the 170 young dancers who bring The Nutcracker Suite to life on the stage of the Trojan Center Theater — are that their performance will be special and magical for all of those who attend and will help make Christmas 2015 one to long remember.