On December 11 we attended the updated performance of The Nutcracker performed by the Kansas City Ballet. The performance was certainly meant for children – it was a full and very busy stage full of colorful new costumes, beautiful new backdrops and props, some very modern dance moves, as well as a collection of animals who played for laughs with their rump-shaking.
Some of the changes we noticed: The street scene that used to open the ballet has been replaced by a lovely workshop for Herr Drosselmeier. The Christmas party now has a dancing bear and a puppet stage the envy of most children. The Arabian dance aimed squarely at “Cirque du Soleil” in its style and method of dancing and elicited many oohhhss and aaahhhhss from the crowd. The Russian dance has matryoshkas, which was fun to watch. Overall, the kids who attended with our group said that they liked the new performance better than the more traditional performances in previous years.
The only real disappointment from the 2015 student matinees was how few dates (only two) were available for students and educators to attend. Given that the new choreography and staging is so obviously geared toward children, it would nice to see the Ballet provide more, not fewer, student matinees of the Nutcracker for 2016.