In attempt to instill some culture in our staff, we sent our Sunday daily to review CUBE’s performance of The Nutcracker Suite. Mason Amelotte brings you his thoughts below.
For the second time in less than a month, I
was forced had the opportunity to spend my Saturday night alone in some foreign theater surrounded by dance moms watching ballet. And I loved it.
Last Saturday night at the Riverside Theatre, Columbia University Ballet Ensemble put on their first ever performance of The Nutcracker. Made up of a group of over fifty girls and one guy, the cast took the audience with Clara on her classic journey to the Kingdom of Sweets. Artistic Director Rebecca Bass and Executive Director Rebecca Schwarz (both BC ’15) were just two of the many people responsible for bringing this performance to life.
This abbreviated version of the Nutcracker was fun, exciting, and just what I needed to get into the Christmas spirit. After all, nothing screams Christmas more than putting on an uncomfortable sweater and listening to Tchaikovsky’s harp-filled score, right?
The Riverside Theatre was the perfect venue for this performance: small, low-key, and situated nicely at Claremont and 120th (a pleasingly-short walking distance for this reviewer). Given the somewhat small size of the stage, there seemed to be no room for a set or backdrop of any kind. However, this was made up by each dancer’s unique costume. From the opening dance with the snow and the icicles, to performances by characters such as chocolate, marzipan, and flowers, to the final waltz featuring the entire cast, I was blown away by the intense detail of each costume.
At one point during the performance, Clara, the main character played by Elizabeth Ratze (CC ’17), pleased the crowd with a mind-blowing number of consecutive pirouettes, performed with astonishing grace. (I got dizzy just watching her). Other standout performances by Taylor Minich (CC ’16), who played the Nutcracker Prince, as well as by the groups of girls playing Coffee and Flowers.
Given this was CUBE’s first ever performance of the world-famous Christmas ballet, I’m going to give the performance two thumbs up and go on to say my nuts were pleasingly cracked by the end of the show.
To learn more about how you can get involved with Columbia University Ballet Ensemble, visit their Facebook.
Young children watching a movie via Shutterstock