Last night, the spirit of Christmas was alive as colorful gumdrops, fluffy snow, magical costumes, and dazzling dancing sugarplum fairies filled the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker was in town bringing the magic of Christmas to the masses. For me, seeing the Nutcracker live in the theater has become one of my most favorite and cherished holiday traditions, and nothing brings the spirit of Christmas alive quite like the music and whimsical theatrics of the Great Russian Nutcracker.
Friday night’s show was the first of a total of three performances by Moscow Ballet this weekend (12/6-12/7). If you are interested in catching one of The Great Russian Nutcracker’s Saturday performances this afternoon, you may still purchase tickets HERE. But do so before they’re gone!
While I have seen many different renditions of The Nutcracker play over the years, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is by far my favorite. Bringing together the timeless music Tchaikovsky with stunning costumes and breathtaking choreography, Moscow Ballet puts on a distinctly unique and unforgettable performance that simply cannot be missed.
Last night’s show at the Orpheum was stunning. The props and costumes were amazing, most notably the towering, beloved Mouse King puppet and Russian nesting dolls. The detail and colorfulness of the costumes is something that struck my attention the second the ballet dancers came on stage. Every garment and dress was so vibrant and colorful, and beautifully paired with the hand painted background sets.
The Great Russian Nutcracker showcased the ballet member’s exceptional talent, as they put on a brilliant performance. Delicate dancing with exceptional precision in their craft, each person on stage was charming and entertaining to watch — especially the children frolicking around on stage.
One of the most remarkable things about The Great Russian Nutcracker is the community involvement behind the scenes and on the stage. Distinctly unique to Moscow Ballet, each year, more than 6,000 children nationwide get to take the stage alongside the professionals in the Great Russian Nutcracker. In Minneapolis, the “Dance With Us” cast had the opportunity to perform in supporting roles as Party Children, Snowflakes, Mice, Snow Maidens, and Variation Dancers. These children were involved in both Acts I and II of the show.
While Act I dazzled and charmed with its beauty and elegance, the sets on the stage in Act II took the audience on an adventure through different worlds and cultures. From Spain, Arabia, China and back, the dancers perfectly executed their cross-cultural extravaganza. My favorite dance move came during the “Russian Dance”, when the male dancer hobbled around on the floor, kicking his feet low to the and clapping his hands all across his body in a joyous manor. The audience loved every second of it, cheering and clapping along to the dances.
If you were not at the Orpheum Theater this weekend, you missed the feel-good classic theatrical performance of the season. Simply put, nobody puts me in the celebratory spirit of Christmas quite like the Moscow Ballet. Sweet as sugar, great as a gumdrop, The Great Russian Nutcracker is a holiday tradition I will continue to come back for time and time again.