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December 21, 2014
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A holiday performance: 'The Nutcracker;’ Traveling to the Land of Sweets

Carissa Stevenson, Larry Utter and Paige Bodnar dance as Spanish hot chocolate


When the curtain opens on the second act, the stage is spectacularly dazzling as all the dancers are dressed as sweets. The Land of Sweets is ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince. The Nutcracker Prince tells them how Clara saved his life, and all the sweets dance to celebrate the couple. Each of these sweets is represented in its own special dance and also in the music. For Spanish hot chocolate, castanets can be heard in the background; Chinese tea has flutes trilling; and Arabian coffee is moody and mysterious. The score includes widely recognizable music, like the “Waltz of the Flowers.” The celebration concludes with a pas de deux by the Sugar Plum Fairy and the prince, which includes a duet, two solos, and a grand coda. All the sweets come back on stage to do a final coda and the Sugar Plum Fairy bids them all farewell.

The curtain closes and re-opens again in the Stahlbaum’s living room. In some versions, Clara is asleep and then wakes up, wondering if it was all a dream. In other versions, Clara holds her wooden Nutcracker in her arms. Both endings ask the question: was the Land of Sweets real, or was it all a dream? Either way, this lovable tale is magical.

Local productions

The Dance Center’s Delaware Valley Dance Company
Saturday, November 30 at 12 noon and 7 p.m.
At the Delaware Valley High School auditorium in Milford, PA
Tickets: $12 ($8 for child and senior) in advance, $14 ($10 child and senior) at the door
More info: 845/856-3373 or www.thedancecenterpj.com

Marya Kennett Dance Centre

Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 at 1 p.m.
At the Paramount Theater in Middletown, NY
Tickets: $18, $16 for seniors and kids
More info: 845/294-7262

Scranton Civic Ballet Company
Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m.
At the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in Scranton, PA
More info: 570/343-0115 or www.scrantoncivicballet.com

New York City productions


American Ballet Theatre

December 13 to December 22, times vary
At the Peter Jay Sharp Building in BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, NY
Tickets start at $25
More info: 212/477-3030 or www.abt.org