Bringing a Bermudian feel to The Nutcracker
Would The Nutcracker ballet be the same if the Sugar Plum Fairy was a mermaid?
What if Clara fell asleep on the beach instead of her living room?
Lizz Pimentel of In Motion School of Dance thinks the classic story would be even more fun.
In Motion’s Bermuda Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular takes place this weekend, infused with Bermudian flavour.
“Since we started doing Nutcracker seven years ago, we’ve changed up costumes here and there and changed some of the dances,” Ms Pimentel said. “This year it was time for a total overhaul.
“We decided to do a completely Bermudian Nutcracker.”
Out went the toy soldiers and in came students dressed in local school uniforms.
Out went Mother Ginger and in came Mother Bermuda.
But don’t worry, Clara still has her prince.
Ms Pimentel’s biggest challenge was choosing what part of Bermudian culture to put in and what to leave out.
“We couldn’t get it all into one production,” she said. “But that’s okay because it gave us stuff to add and change next year.
“As dancers and choreographers, the key is to be able to take something, manipulate it and create originality.”
Another big task was upgrading all the costumes.
“The show has 125 students in it,” she said. “And many of them needed multiple costumes.
“We had people in the United States handmaking our tutus. I love them. They are in such lovely fabrics and in beautiful colours.
“Locally, my favourites would be our starfish and jellyfish costumes. They were handmade here by our teachers. They are also made from a beautiful fabric.”
So far the feedback from parents and In Motion students has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Our students are absolutely chuffed about it,” said Ms Pimentel. “You hear a lot of ‘Oh my gosh, I am a tropical fish or I am a starfish.’ We teach them what the traditional Nutcracker is, so they understand the changes.”
Sarah Francoeur has the role of Clara. Malini Romeo, Debre Evans, Khyla Glave, Jackie Costello, Mya Gibbons and Grace Francoeur also have leading roles.
“In Motion’s Nutcracker initially started as a trial, but it was so well received we decided to make it an annual tradition,” Ms Pimentel said.
“The other day someone said to me, ‘It’s not officially Christmas until [In Motion has] done The Nutcracker’. That really made me feel good.”
Tweaking the classic Christmas production is nothing new.
“It has been done many times the world over,” she said.
“It’s nice to hear the classic over and over, but it’s also nice to do something a bit different with it.”
The show starts at 7pm at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday. It also runs on Saturday at 2pm and 7pm.