The Nutcracker Ballet Review (translation from Polish)
Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at the “Palladium” theater at Złota street is one of the incest and most honestly performed ballet show staged recently at Warsaw stages. Usually, one writes about “an unforgettable evening”; this time, we are dealing with an unforgettable morning as the shows take place before noon and the complete audience is full of children (and their parents, obviously) mesmerized and often wordless and frozen in wonder.
Everyone watching the show is highly impressed by the splendid choreography at the same time full of lyricism and humor, admires the energy of the dancers and parts of dance steps full of human dimension. “The Nutcracker” is a beautiful ballet, known from the biggest stages of the world. Here, during an hour-long version, shortened for the purposes of perception capacities of the young audience, we can see both the experienced, although still young, soloists (applause for the contortionist) as well as children only a couple of years old – students of a ballet school, performing their parts with great emotion and touching responsibility (but also with great charm!). This combination makes a very good impression – we are charmed, even moved! The star of the show is undoubtedly the soloist performing the part of the eponymous hero, the Nutcracker, whose energy and dance simply makes the not-so-big hall of the “Palladium” theater explode.
As a matter of fact, there are no simply proper or stilted roles, everyone has a lot to give and they are doing it with ease and therefore create such a suggestive atmosphere that even adults forget about their age and they travel in time and in space along with their children – into the world of fairy tales, the world of their own childhood. The show is therefore mesmerizing for everyone, regardless of age, and the emotions described have an almost thrilling effect on the audience.
Introduction to the ballet of the character of the Wizard – illusionist who easily and directly enters in contact with the young audience is a good idea; it is a funny interlude, not only in terms of magic tricks, but also verbally, which is essential in case of ballet which lacks words and is therefore hard to comprehend for children, to keep up the necessary tension in the hall among the young audience. However, the children show no signs of being bored even during the longer scenes with dance and music. The Wizard introduces the young members of the audience to a fairy tale dimension, full of different experiences and multilayer feelings which constitute the content of the ballet action. Moreover, he treats the children seriously, he is cheeky, not childish. The classical “setting” of the show is also worth some attention, meaning the clothes and the stage design, which are modest but do not bring discredit on the greatest productions of “The Nutcracker”.
It is a good and useful show, it teaches how to be sensitive and patient in the reception of art. The music of the XIX century, Tchaikovsky’s music, is beautiful and understandable for us adults. For children who are 4-6 years old it is however hard, dramatic, at times scary. Nevertheless, the visual side of the show perfectly bridges the gap in reception of the music by such a young audience. The language of Tchaikovsky’s music greatly defends itself here and is understood by such young viewers. A couple of times I forgot where I was and how old I was, at moments I went back to my childhood years and, while daydreaming, I remembered the whole atmosphere and feelings when I myself would go with my parents to see similar shows many years ago. I even felt a short pain in my chest, yes, it’s true! It is also important for the audience to be able to go on the stage or to meet the artists in person. Thanks to this, a much needed bond between the audience and the artists is created; it will certainly pay off in the future. Are there any drawbacks of this staging? Indeed, there is one, but it cannot be held against the organizers – there is no live orchestra in the theater and the music is played from CDs. However, the audience is so impressed that this remains unnoticed. Nevertheless, this drawback pays off – in the price of the tickets. Still, the popularizing, educational and spiritual function of the show fully compensates for all the drawbacks, and even more than that.