Northeast Ballet dances Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" at Proctors.
Four years ago was the last time I saw Northeast Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker.” At the time, I praised its dancers for ushering in a more mature, professional looking production.
The same could be said about this year’s holiday classic, but more so. From the seats in Proctors, I can see that Artistic Director Darlene Myers’ efforts to attract more boys to her school has paid off. It’s gratifying to see a local production able to cast actual boys in boys roles, which is a rarity for many regional dance studios. But it’s not just the boys. All of Northeast Ballet’s dancers fill their roles with aplomb.
Here are some of the best moments from the Tchaikovsky ballet.
Lucas Rodriguez is superb in the title role. As the wooden soldier that Clara loves, Rodriguez is sharp as he salutes and marches about the stage, the embodiment of the perfect recruit – strong and upright.
The snow scene is always precious because it is the Clara’s transition from the warmth of the family home to the cooling tingle of adventure. While Adrienne Canterna and Barton Cowperthwaite show off their technical prowess in the snow pas, it is the Snow Queen, Alexandra Lindsay, and her crystals and corps de ballet that made this scene a cyclone of sparkling blue beauty. Together, the dancers are with each other every step of the way, dancing collectively in one gorgeous swirl.
Canterna and Cowperthwaite return to dazzle with their acrobatics as the leads in the Arabian divertissement. Their exotic twists and tumbles quicken hearts.
Also delicious, in the Magic Kingdom of the Sweets are the Russians with Luca Spadinger in a series of bouncing straddle jumps and Bruce Williams as Mother Ginger, the big bosom flirt with too many children.
Myers also inserts many enchanting touches that are exclusive to her production: the flaming book, Uncle Drosselmeyer’s smoky rise from the depth and Bonnie, the patience, obedient horse who carries Clara on her excursion to the world beyond.
Of course, making the production even more special is the inclusion of two favorite dancers from the region’s favorite ballet company – Lauren Lovette and Andrew Veyette from New York City Ballet. Lovette is always a crowd-pleasure as she takes and projects so much joy in the ballet’s grand pas de deux. And Veyette, a last minute replacement for Gonzalo Garcia, is one of today’s most masterful cavaliers – able, caring and refined. Together, they are gold – spun for the audience’s pleasure.
The show will be repeated today at 2 p.m. at Proctors in Schenectady.