Waco fans of Tchaikovsky’s holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” will find a combination of the familiar and the new in Sunday’s production at Waco Hall.
The familiar is live orchestral backing by the Waco Symphony Orchestra. The new is its dance partner in the Fort Worth-based Ballet Frontier of Texas, which will bring some 40 dancers, colorful sets and costuming to the stage.
Actually, for some “Nutcracker” fans, the Ballet Frontier of Texas is familiar, too: The company danced “The Nutcracker” last year at the Midway Performing Arts Center, with accompaniment from the Midway High School Camerata Orchestra.
Enrica Tseng, artistic advisor and a BFT board member, said Waco Hall’s larger stage would allow Ballet Frontier to perform with its full complement of “Nutcracker” sets.
“We are bringing all of our beautiful sets. Last year, we were only able to use about half of them,” she said.
Waco is the last stop for the ballet’s “Nutcracker,” which debuted last month in Fort Worth with performances last weekend at the Granbury Opera House in Granbury. Guest dancers Marlen Alimanov and Kathryn Boren will perform the roles of the Cavalier and the Sugar Plum Fairy, joining the Fort Worth company for its “Nutcracker” run.
Approximately 40 Waco children will fill parts of Christmas revelers, angels and young Chinese and Russian dancers, Tseng said. “The battle scenes (between the Nutcracker and his toy soldiers and the Rat King with his army) is too complicated to add (child) mice,” she explained.
The Ballet Frontier of Texas “Nutcracker” sticks to the traditional storyline of a young girl, Clara, the recipient of a Nutcracker as Christmas present, who falls asleep and dreams it her Nutcracker comes to life, fights and defeats the Rat King, then takes her on a fantastical tour of a land of candy, flowers and snowflakes.
“We have very lavish costumes and sets. It is energetic and beautiful,” Tseng said of the BFT production.
Artistic director Chung-Lin Tseng, a former dancer with the Texas Ballet Theatre, formed Ballet Frontier of Texas 10 years ago and continues to dance with the company.
Tickets to the Waco performance were still available as of midweek. As at past Waco Symphony “Nutcrackers,” wooden nutcracker dolls will be sold in the lobby before the performance and during intermission on a cash-only basis.