Pre-December 1st I’m usually a bit of a Scrooge, but the Russian Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at The Tyne Opera House fully converted me into one of those “Yes it’s mid-November and no I’m not taking off my Christmas jumper” people. With snow-filled sets and Christmassy costumes, there was no way to avoid the wintery feels the ballet gave me.
At first I was a bit worried I’d have no clue what on earth was happening. The only knowledge I have of The Nutcracker as a story is the few flaky memories of my ‘Barbie and the Nutcracker’ video tape that have stuck with me for the last 15 years and I’m one of the least clued-up dance people ever. I couldn’t conceive how on earth these dancers were about to relay a story to me purely through movement.
Not only did they manage to convey the story to me, but they wowed me beyond explanation. I was in awe of the strength, precision and grace of the dancers. Yes, merely sitting and watching ballet is entertaining. But then you start to think about the dancer’s movements and become totally awestruck. How does she get her leg that high?! Is he holding her up just with one hand? One hand? The strength of the ballerinas captivated me and all too soon the show was over.
A special shout-out to the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. Whether they were dancing together or separately, I was transfixed by their abilities to make such difficult movements look to effortlessly graceful. A part of me wanted to go and pick the two of them up by the end of the ballet, because I felt so certain that they must be as light as a feather.
So, some advice from a poor and lowly fresher: if you’re wanting a festive experience that involves something other than you and your flatmates sitting around drinking cheap knock-off baileys and eating a slightly sub-par burnt Christmas dinner that cost you 4 hours and a lot of arguments, go to the ballet. It won’t disappoint.