By: Alexandra Bonano
To kick off its 26th annual family tradition, Roxey Ballet debuted this year’s showing of “The Nutcracker” on Saturday, Nov. 30 on the Kendall Hall main stage.
The original performance of “The Nutcracker” took place at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892, with music written by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.
The play has become one of the most popular and loved Christmas time performances to take place annually across the world by dozens of ballet dance companies.
The Christmas story is a fairytale type ballet that centers around the night of a family’s holiday celebration. A young girl, Clara, goes on an adventure to a different world that involves a battle between her new friend, the Nutcracker, and the evil Mouse King. After the Mouse King is defeated, Clara is then brought into a magical world filled with dolls, dancing snowflakes and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
While the play is wildly popular, Roxey Ballet puts its own spin on the classic performance that is “...cultural, dramatic, technically breathtaking, and beautifully theatrical.” Roxey Ballet presents invigorating, kinetic dance choreography that enables dancers to forge an interactive bond with audiences, beyond that of a traditional dance performance,” according to the group’s official website at www.roxeyballet.org.
From dance performances inspired by various cultures to the perpetual beauty of ballet as an artform, the group gracefully fused the two together to create the heart-warming, attention-grabbing display that came to life on stage.
“I love the whole story of ‘The Nutcracker’… (the performance) is very animated and I think it’s excellent this year,'' said Annette Redelico, one of the many non-student attendees, whose granddaughter was in the show.
Redelico, a dance teacher herself, has a legacy to enjoy at the Roxey Ballet, as her daughter was also once a dancer for the group and is now a professional dancer.
“I love the whole Roxey Ballet tradition of this, putting it on for the kids,” Redelico said. “It’s such a great thing for the children and to learn. A lot of times even if you’re not in it, when you’re watching, you’re learning by watching. It’s absorption of the arts and I believe in the arts.”
The Roxey Ballet dance group identifies as a “...progressive company that produces out-of-the box dance performances…” that came to fruition in 1995 to the credit of the now executive and artistic director, Mark Roxey, according to its website. The company has remained a non-profit company rooted in New Jersey and now travels locally, nationally and internationally to exhibit its talents of dance and storytelling.
The company was never formed to be ordinary by any means, but aimed to inspire and forge new paths within the world of ballet, spreading this ambition through professional performances, residences, workshops, educational programs and master classes.
For the show at the College, Roxey Ballet was able to draw audience members into an immersive experience that held true to the values of family, dance and the Christmas spirit.