The Radford University Ballet Theater put on a production of Christmas classic, The Nutcracker this past weekend. Inessa Plekhanova, artistic director of the RU Ballet, directed this year’s production of the ballet.
The Sugar Plum Fairy was portrayed by Misha Reznikov, a dancer from Russia, and the Fairy’s Caviler was portrayed by Humberto Teixeira who was also from Russia. Reznikov and Humberto are graceful and talented dancers who complimented each other well and were fascinating to watch. Another thing about the performance that interested me was the fact that most of the male characters in the ballet were played by female dancers. Whether this is a tradition in the play or a result of a lack of male dancers, I don’t know, but all the dancers, male and female or female portraying male, did a fantastic job.
I was in attendance for the Saturday showing and the performance was lovely. I had never seen the Nutcracker before and had never been to a ballet before either. I learned quickly that the dancers do not have any lines and do not speak at all during ballets. They let their movements and dance be their voice. Through their gestures and the choreography, I could tell exactly what was going on. The music also plays a big part in ballet productions. Since there is no dialogue, the music allows the audience to know how the story unfolds. The music will spike dramatically in tempo and intensity to convey shock, fear, or excitement, or it will fall smoothly into a softer rhythm during calmer sequences. During the play, the battle scene between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker was especially exciting, and one of the little mice, played by a pipsqueak-sized little dancer, got shot (with a fake gun, of course) but it was still a shock that drew several gasps from the audience.