Alicia Vandevorst: The enduring magic of ‘Clara and The Nutcracker’ | TheUnion.com

Alicia Vandevorst: The enduring magic of ‘Clara and The Nutcracker’

Alicia Vandevorst
Other Voices

Once again, 'tis the season of "Clara and the Nutcracker." The dancers are preparing at Holt Ballet, and my daughter is one of them.

Though I have heard this music since I was a child, and now hear it all the time, I can't deny its lasting power. She has embraced the ritual of it. Her face is radiant as she practices. She hums the music as she carries her clothes to her room.

Do you remember when that story and music were new for you? I first saw it in Connecticut when I was three and dreamed in those colors for months. Then every year, as the holiday lights appeared along eaves and around trees, I would think of the magical tree that outgrows Clara's house. I would think of that wonderful present, the Nutcracker, that comes to life and becomes her guide.

Everything about the holidays that was predictable became a mystery in The Nutcracker. It's a dream of love, one that matures Clara and shows the possibilities within her, and the sweeping power of imagination itself.

Though I have heard this music since I was a child, and now hear it all the time, I can’t deny its lasting power.

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The Holt Ballet production provides the magic but goes further. The dancers train with great discipline, and it shows. As a mom, I am so grateful for this. Each dancer that I know in Holt Ballet Conservatory understands that the performance is a gift to the audience and takes that seriously.

Amidst lots of backstage giggles and improvised dances, a culture of respect and focus still reigns. The oldest girls occasionally give stern looks to the intermediate dancers, but also help them with makeup or choreography.

The intermediate girls keep track of each other and usher the littlest ones into place.

Once they're on stage, in gorgeous costumes, the grace of their dancing makes the story fresh again, even for someone like me who has seen this particular production five times.

Come out to the festive Miners Foundry to see this classic, be delighted, and support a thriving, excellent ballet conservatory. Clara and the Nutcracker is a joint production of the Miners Foundry and Holt Ballet Conservatory. Performances will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7, and at 1 p.m. on Dec. 8, all at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City.

To purchase tickets, visit http://www.holtballetconservatory.org/clara-and-the-nutcracker-tickets or phone the Miners Foundry at 530-265-5040.

Alicia Vandevorst lives in Grass Valley.

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