In a flurry of pointe shoes, tights and tutus, Nevada Ballet Theatre brought the holiday spirit to The Smith Center on December 10. The company kicked off its 35th annual run of The Nutcracker, bringing the beloved story ballet for a fifth year to the performing arts complex’s Reynolds Hall stage.
And NBT’s technique was en pointe throughout its opening night. Every performer was athletic and graceful while dancing to Tchaikovsky’s melodies. Even during the latter scenes, none appeared to have a glossy sheen of sweaty exhaustion—but after 35 years of performing the piece, audiences should expect nothing less from NBT.
NBT’s current production of The Nutcracker is not a strict Petipa rendition, so those skeptical about ballet can relax. NBT’s presentation offers a little Las Vegas bawdiness and camp, such as the Rat Queen’s crew performing pelvic thrusts on high relevé.
There also was Vegas-brand sexiness. Adults may have noted the burning sensuality of the Arabian dance—especially when the female dancer lied back to admire the peacock revealing his impressive plumage. NBT showed that this ballet doesn’t have to be solely for kids.
Some dances fell a little short. The simplicity of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s solo underwhelms when placed between the elegance of the Snow Prince and Winter Fairy’s pas de deux (duet) and the exuberance of the Russian dance’s coupé-jeté en tournant, (spinning kicks in a circle). It was unfortunate, considering how the Sugar Plum Fairy is often what people recall when remembering The Nutcracker.
Despite this, NBT’s Nutcracker is a winter escape. With traditional ballet technique, imaginative sets and imagery, and childhood wonder and nostalgia, this year’s Nutcracker is a dream.
Dec. 16-18, 21-24; times vary, $29-$179, The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall, thesmithcenter.com