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Boston Ballet's "The Nutracker"

Olivia Behrmann in "The Nutracker", 2017

As the weather becomes colder and the string lights are dusted off and hung up, the excitement and anxious joy for the holiday season is hard to miss in the good ol’ city of Boston. However, for the dancers at the Boston Ballet, this time of the year also marks the start of another season – Nutcracker season.

Opening on November 29th and going through December 30th at the Boston Opera House, the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is not only a must-see for an ideal Boston-holiday experience but is a reminder of the familial essence that is the Christmas season.

The rehearsal had yet to commence but my eyes were already beginning to fill with tears as all the memories and emotions from when I used to dance began to flood my mind. The simple piano going over small snippets of the music was as clear and distinctive amongst the small talk the crew and the dancers as if it was being played in a completely silent theatre.

It wasn’t until then and when the lights began to dim that I was reminded of the intricately distinct art form that is dance – one of the few theatrically-exhibited pieces where words are pushed aside and one must use simply their own observations and human emotions to truly understand the exhibition in front of them.

“Ballet is kind of nice because it’s like an escape from the real world – for the audience and for us,” said Olivia Behrmann, a Boston Ballet company dancer performing in the Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker is one of the most well-known of the ballets due to the holiday and traditional essence it holds. But…why is that so?

It isn’t simply because it is set around the holidays but rather, it is the emotions and memories it evokes in both the audience and the dancers themselves. It is the sense of family and gathering that The Nutcracker brings about that draws hundreds of individuals – young and old – to revel in the beauty that is dance and the anticipation of the holiday celebrations.  

“It’s just about the joy and the excitement,” said Behrmann.

Likewise, The Nutcracker conjures a child-like wonder in each person, watching or dancing, that is seemingly lacking yet necessary in a world such as today. In a way, the ballet is a chance for all to escape reality and visit a world unknown and extraordinary as the ones in their dreams.

While watching the performance, one is transported from the theatre to the Land of Sweets with Clara; as are the dancers taken from one world to another, allowing for the entire theatre to come as one on this journey. Not simply is the audience given the opportunity to dream, but the dancers are as well.

“It’s just as exciting for [the audience] as it is for [the dancers],” said Behrmann. “It’s kind of magical.”


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