What a special year for The Nutcracker in Anchorage!
Annual attendance at the Anchorage Concert Association’s (ACA) production of The Nutcracker has become a wonderful holiday tradition for many families in Alaska. This year marked the 30th anniversary that the ACA hosted this spectacular show. To mark the occasion, Ballet West from Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the top ballet companies in America, was invited back to Anchorage to perform their $3-million new production. Ballet West is the original ballet company that performed the Nutcracker in Anchorage for the first time 30 years ago, and even more significantly, they also are the company that first performed a full-length version of The Nutcracker ballet in America 75 years ago. The Anchorage showing this December marked these two anniversaries well, honoring Willam Christensen’s hallmark choreography and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s timeless musical arrangement.
From the moment the curtains lifted all the way to the final bow, the audience was captivated by the Ballet West’s extraordinary performance. The opening notes from the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra set the mood for excitement and joy. The children leaned forward, eyes wide as projections flashed and the dancers took the stage. After seeing The Nutcracker here for the past 6 years, I was elated to see the 24 new sets, 200 new props, and 180 dazzling new costumes that Ballet West brought to the show.
As much as I love the regular performance, it was a treat to enjoy a fresh arrangement this year.
The gifted dancers and new pyrotechnics kept everyone at the edge of their seats. When it was time for intermission, it was hard to rouse myself back to reality after being immersed in the dream world they had painted so well.
I also thrilled to see children getting excited about the performing arts, and many took time to peruse the Nutcracker store in the lobby for sweet mementos to commemorate their family tradition. The ACA has been bringing incredible shows to Anchorage this year, and I look forward to continuing to support the arts at the other performances they plan to host in the coming year.