In this production of The Nutcracker, the dancers of Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet have executed a delicate balancing act, much more impressive than a tricky pirouette. Skillfully, they manage to be silly and serious, flawless yet quirky, precise yet lighthearted.

The story begins at a Christmas Eve party, where the children are about to receive presents. Whilst some of the other children open various toys, young Klara receives a nutcracker, which is broken by her brother. After everyone leaves, the little girl drifts to sleep when the mice sneak in to cause trouble. Luckily for her, she has the toys on her side.

The first act is fun, festive and full of colourful characters, with intricate scenes of children playing and black mice sneaking onstage while everyone is sleeping. There is a definite comedic vibe, sustained throughout the performance by the physicality of the performers and consistent elements of surprise. The toys all have their own distinct personalities as they come to life, and the mice – a personal favorite of mine – often unexpectedly scurry across the stage, much to the dismay of the other characters.

The toys all have their own distinct personalities as they come to life.

The scene continues to change and develop, making it more exciting for the audience. The special effects keep you on your toes throughout, and smoke is used artistically to create a hauntingly beautiful aesthetic. The stage set, though simple, is used well and the background images are manipulated strategically to correspond with the performance. The colorful costumes set the festive mood well and transport the audience to another time and place.

The second act offered a slower pace, focusing more on showcasing the dancers than on developing the storyline. Although this act provides a different experience, the dancers continue dazzling the audience with their mesmerizing routines. A special mention must be given to the full orchestra, who beautifully perform Tchaikovsky’s famous score.

The musicians and dancers of St Petersburg Classic Ballet blend together seamlessly throughout the performance, culminating in a sensational night at the ballet. One could even say it’s ‘en pointe’.

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