Bringing a holiday favourite to life
The Nutcracker, featuring music by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is performed by countless ballet companies during the holiday season.
The opening scene is Christmas Eve, as family and friends gather to decorate a tree and the children stand in awe of the sparkling candles and decorations.
The youngsters start to play with a small wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man. A boy, Fritz, purposefully breaks it and his sister Clara is heartbroken.
After everyone goes to sleep, Clara returns to the room to check on her beloved toy. She is greeted by a realm of magic mice fill the room, the tree has grown to gigantic proportions and the Nutcracker is also life-size.
A battle breaks out between the King of the Mice and the Nutcracker, with the latter managing to escape with young Clara.
The In Motion School of Dance performance begins where the second act starts. In it, the Nutcracker is transformed into a prince and escapes with Clara on a nutshell boat to The Land of Sweets.
A celebration is held in young Claras honour, with sweets from around the world chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, and tea from China all perform a dance.
The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a dance, then another waltz is performed by all the sweets before Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are declared the rulers of The Land of Sweets.
But trouble arises when people of the land begin to disappear one at a time, including the Prince — thats when Clara wakes to find herself sleeping in her home.
She wonders if it was all a dream, but then finds a crown sitting beside her.
A local dance school will bring holiday magic to life this week through their annual production of holiday favourite, The Nutcracker.
In Motion School of Dance are currently the only school on the Island offering the traditional ballet. Director Lizz Pimentel said the school wanted to put on the production and were always looking for the next thing to make them stand out.
The Nutcracker is such a huge tradition everywhere else in the world, Ms Pimentel said. So we thought lets give it a shot and see how we make out.
She spoke with The Royal Gazette amid one of the busiest performance weeks of the year as dancers, teachers and choreographers were undergoing hours of practice, costume fittings and dress rehearsals.
She had to pull herself away from e-mails and phone calls to talk about the highly anticipated holiday performance, taking place at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium tomorrow and Friday night at 7pm.
Ms Pimentel said the schools first attempt at The Nutcracker was in 2009. They performed just the final act, incorporating jazz, tap and other dance styles.
The audience reaction was amazing and the ambience was magical for the holiday season, she said.
Its tricky because its a busy time of year for everyone, but it was well received.
The amount of people that would be bringing it up to me was incredible, so I said okay and we did it again last year.
I am always looking how to improve from year to year and what we have done this year is brought back a few alumni of ours who are overseas pursuing professional dance careers and we have a male dancer as our lead nutcracker. He is going to do some pas de deux [a dance for two] work.
In Motion School of Dance was founded by Ms Pimentel 16 years ago.
Each year I am gearing for bigger and better things, new experiences, she said. I never want them to feel limited because they live in Bermuda.
I have always initiated new styles of dance and new concepts of dance. I feel like In Motion is one of the innovators of dance on the Island because we take risks, step out and explore new ideas and things that have previously not been offered on the Island.
She said the school sent promising young students overseas to take part in workshops with internationally renowned teachers and choreographers. The school also has a huge commitment to providing dance students with the best teachers to help them reach their full potential.
She said she never wants her students to leave the Island to pursue a career abroad and feel lost or at a professional disadvantage because they come from a small island.
Ms Pimentel said their annual performances were a way for the school to give back to the community, while also giving the dancers greater exposure.
Her dancers took part in the MarketPlaces annual Christmas parade and also performed at the Bermuda National Trust St Georges Walkabout earlier this month.
Ms Pimentel said: Its essential for the community to see that dance is important, the arts are important in a society. Its also important for the community to see what these children are putting in.
They are putting in hours of their lives to prepare and do this and it gives them something positive in their lives, especially these teens because things are rough, they have a lot to deal with and this gives them an outlet where they feel this is a family for them.
They can feel gratification for accomplishing a performance, putting themselves out there and doing a good job.
She said the show would feature scores of the companys more experienced dancers, who put at least 20 or more hours of dance a week.
Its a communal effort for the performers to make sure that every one in the audience leaves feeling a little more of that holiday spirit.
Ms Pimentel said: We want people to leave with a feeling, that they have some time to not worry about the hustle and bustle of the holiday experience and feel they have stepped into a magical place where they can be entertained and become one with others on stage.
Its also a bit of an escape from reality for the hour-and-a-half performance time and a chance for people to see there are some hard working dancers out there. We want to show people a quality of dance that is comparable to or on par with other ballets internationally.
Tickets $35, or $60 for patrons, are available at www.bdatix.bm.