The Nutcracker’ arrives at SOPAC

“The Nutcracker” will be dancing its way to the stage at SOPAC this Sunday. The classic ballet has been updated by the New York Theatre Ballet and will make a stop at the local performing arts center as part of a run of area theaters before taking root in the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in New York City.

According to choreographer Keith Michael, “The performance has been updated in various ways. In this version, Marie is not so much of a bystander, but a participant in what she sees,” he said of the main character. “She is also not a little girl, but a young woman. There is even a romance with the Nutcracker Prince.”

For those not familiar with the story of the ballet, “The Nutcracker” begins on Christmas Eve at a Christmas party thrown by the parents of a young girl named Marie. The mysterious toymaker Drosselmeyer arrives with a present for Marie: a wooden nutcracker in the shape of a man. Later, after everyone has left, Marie finds herself in a dreamlike fantasy where her nutcracker has transformed into a prince who battles the Mouse King and takes Marie on a journey through the Land of Snow.

In addition, the performance will feature all new costumes and stage design, because according to Michael, “It was just time for an update. It is always the same story everywhere and we thought it was time to do something different.”

This is Michael’s twenty seventh time choreographing “The Nutcracker” but this past spring, Diana Byer, artistic director of New York Theatre Ballet, commissioned him to envision and choreograph a new “Nutcracker” for the Company.

According to the company website,, “the design of the scenery and the costumes, as well as choreographic floor patterns and dance motifs, have all sprung from the curvaceous interdependency between the parts and the whole – hallmarks of the formal structuralism of the international design style of Art Nouveau.”

Another new feature is that, instead of the traditional Mouse King, there will be a Mouse Queen in the performance.

One thing that anyone who has seen “The Nutcracker” before can expect to be the same is the music. Though Michael has updated the choreography to accompany it, the dancers will still dance to the classic composition of Peter Tchaikovsky.

“This is worth seeing simply because it is a lot of fun for anyone who gets to see it,” Michael said. “It is upbeat and exciting for everyone regardless of age.”

According to Michael, it is the ballet’s hour-long duration that really makes it exciting. “Basically, there is never a lull or dull moment. And it is tailored to suit even the shortest attention spans.”

The show will only be at SOPAC for one day—Dec. 4—with shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 or $40 for non-SOPAC members and $25 and $35 for members. They can be purchased at or by calling the ticket office at (973)313-ARTS(2787).

Alyana Alfaro can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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