Even the weatherman blessed the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” this year.
Unlike past years, when “The Nutcracker” was performed during blizzards and ice storms, the 2017 production was met with two unseasonably warm and sunny days, which graced near sell-out crowds attending the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
“The Lincoln Midwest Ballet’s Nutcracker is one of Lincoln’s great holiday traditions,” said Mayor Chris Beutler, who attended the Saturday afternoon performance with his wife, Judy. “My wife and I had a wonderful time attending this year’s fantastic performance.”
The production featured two additions. Soldiers marched into the battle scene in Act 1 wearing new costumes created by head costumer Maralee Maldavs, and the boutique sold limited-edition nutcrackers custom-designed to look just like the nutcracker who dances in LMBC’s production.
In 1985, the first cast of LMBC’s Nutcracker had only 22 dancers. This year marked the 33rd production with nearly 200 dancers from the Lincoln area and guest artists from around the U.S. and even Canada. Eric Carnes, a principal dancer with the Albano Ballet Company in Hartford, Connecticut, danced the roles of Snow King and Marzipan; Nathan Powell, from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, was this year’s Nutcracker Prince; Cameron Wille and Matthew Fata, from Muse Dance Company in Los Angeles, danced as Arabian men; and Krystina Wendelken from Long Island, New York, and Tevfik Vatansever of Williamsburg, Virginia, danced the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
Student soloists were Emily Yost, a junior at Lincoln Pius X, who danced the role of Clara; McKaylee True, a senior at Lincoln East, who performed the roles of Snow Queen and Arabian Queen; and Leah Andersen, a sophomore at Lincoln East, who danced as Dew Drop.
The classic Tchaikovsky score was performed by Nebraska Symphony Chamber Orchestra musicians under the direction of Dr. Herbert E. Dregalla Jr. LMBC is one of very few remaining local Nutcracker productions that use a live orchestra, which creates a dynamic atmosphere of collaboration between the musicians, conductor and dancers.
After the performances, Vicki Schulenberg, president of the LMBC board of directors, commended cast members for “the joy and passion they brought to the Lied Center stage as they danced in this year’s production. Our talented dancers enchanted our audiences and brought the story of Clara and her Nutcracker to life. Artistic Director Shari True has created a production that provides cherished memories in the lives of generations of children.”