BOISE — “The Nutcracker,” a longtime holiday family tradition for many, is coming alive again through Ballet Idaho at the Morrison Center this weekend. Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos said that seeing “The Nutcracker” year after year has become dependable and reliable for many.
“It’s traditional for a reason,” said Anastos.
While no new surprises come from the storyline, Anastos adds a humorous touch.
“It is the same show every year,” said Anastos. “But in Act I, during the Christmas party, we try every year to put some sight gags or funny things in Act I. So there are a few new things this year that we put into that act.”
However, Anastos, who not only helps to choreograph “The Nutcracker,” but ultimately puts on the entire artistic production, wanted Ballet Idaho’s nutcracker to stand out. Anastos decided that the nutcracker should be a life-sized doll who dances with Clara, the main character. He then went on to create the idea of a mechanical mouse, a dancer who is made to look like metal, which allowed Anastos to establish the idea of a crazy mouse scurrying around the house.
“The best part is the glorious music,” said Anastos. “We also have a beautiful company of dancers ... they are all great to work with and working with them on a daily basis is really a huge joy for me.”
The show, written in the 19th century, allowed ballet-goers to experience other dances from around the world. The dancers, portrayed as sweets such as Mexican hot cocoa and Chinese tea, showcased the customary dances for those regions.
“Ballet lives on those kind of imaginary fantasies,” said Anastos. “In a way, when you came to the ballet, it was a travelogue for 19th century (dance enthusiasts) to see how other people danced.”
“The Nutcracker,” a two-act show, portrays a young girl, Clara, who, after a long night at her parents’ Christmas Eve party, drifts off to sleep with her new nutcracker in hand.
In Act II, once Clara awakens, she finds herself in a world where the nutcracker and her brother’s toy, a mouse, come to life. A battle between the two ensues and Clara manages to surprise the mouse, allowing the nutcracker to be victorious.
Clara is then whisked away to a mystical world of sugar plum fairies and candy dancers that show her different worlds through dance, until her night must come to an end.