A Classic Relived
The Nutcracker came to life at the Esplanade Theatre from the 4 – 8 December, which was just in time for the holiday season. Put together by The Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT), they put their own spin on everyone’s favourite classic holiday ballet treat.
Under the artistic direction of Janek Schergen, SDT’s version veered from the usual storyline of Clara Nightingale being the main character. Instead, the dancers and characters around her were the main focus of the performance. Marie Nightingale, Clara’s older sister and the object of her admiration, eventually becomes the Sugar Plum Fairy in Act II. However, the artistic direction failed to expound on the sisterly relationship and there was little to none chemistry between the sisters.
The first 10 minutes of the performance did not set the right mood for first-timers as the numerous activities on stage caused some confusion among some of the audience members. As there were no dialogues, the silent acting and gesticulation was quite draggy, especially after the setting was set.
Despite the problems with the story, the group’s lovely dance sequences redeemed the performance. The visually stunning dance ensembles that had the dancers leaping and pirouetting across the stage captured the audience’s undivided attention. With Rosa Park and Kenya Nakamura as Marie and the Sugar Plum Fairy respectively, the well-paired duo received the loudest applause with their fluid yet crisp performance that pulled a few gasps of astonishment from the audience.
Besides the storyline that is a classic and the various dance sequences, Tchaikovsky’s delightful music score plays a huge role in the success of The Nutcracker. Whimsical yet majestic, it pulls on the audience’s imaginations and transports them to a whole new world through dance and music.