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The Joffrey Ballet School “Nutcracker” Performance

In 2019, I visited the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City, where I watched Joffrey Ballet School’s performance. The crew performed the Nutcracker dance, a fantasy dance story written by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann in 1816 (Owen and Crawford 13). In the story, the Nutcracker, one of Marie Stahlbaum’s best-loved Christmas toys, comes to life to fight the Wicket Mouse in the battle. After the Nutcracker defeated the Wicked Mouse, it takes young Marie to a magical kingdom of toys.

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In the first piece of the story dance, much of the magic story was caused by the scenic design, particularly in the surreal land of sweets and lighting design. The crew costumes were urbane in silks and sparkles, explicitly using an attractive assortment of textures. The technical effects were delightful and striking. In one of the scenes, there was quaintness and ease, characterized by dancing mechanicals of Harlequin and Harlequinade (“Joffrey Ballet School”). In the battle act, the crowd of children as toy soldiers, baby mice, and living dolls were amusing. On the other hand, in the second piece of the dance, the children’s choir was breathtaking and entertaining. Essentially, this second piece did not need any choreography to make the dance entertaining because the incorporated sound accomplished the task. The polichinelles and little angels were adorable. However, the divertissements needed more improvements as they were frequently too busy. The Arabia trio was sophisticated, and the male trio for Russia was of bright ardor. The lady who performed as Rosa was great, although the flowers could cohesively be more well-preserved.

The music and dance story, the Nutcracker ballet, is very light and beautiful. It makes woodwind instruments and orchestra to create a doll-like sound. The entire experience for the dance performance was tantalizing for each person who attended. I had never taken part in such a performance before, so showing up to one on Christmas Eve was very convenient for my family and me. This performance is always done during Christmas Eve when families reunite (Owen and Crawford 16). Despite many similarities, ethnic diversity taste characterizes the difference between the 2019 Joffrey Ballet performance and the original version performed in the 1890s. In the 1890s, the performance lacked the ethnic diversity taste that is evidenced in current performances.

In the dance presentation, the cultural perception about gender is conveyed in the production as each gender demonstrated similar attitudes, portraying equality. The female and male dance partners lift and quickly turn one another to depict gender equality. The textual and intertextual symbolic message portrayed by the performance is that females’ bodies capture males’ attention. Further, this type of intertextual symbolism can be identified by Queen Mouse, who represented a seductress. The performance, especially about the gender roles, differs from my worldview, characterized by the belief that men are meant for challenging roles as women serve as soft and beautiful characters. In the show, the ballet technique categorized women as prominent due to the characters’ movements and appearance. The current gender expectations place females in a position to perform roles that display them as soft, delicate, and mother-like figures, while males are depicted as protectors, strong, and serious characters. In other words, the ballet shows that the females’ cultural denomination now ranges from depression to inspiration. As a result, the Joffrey Ballet performance offers a proper cultural voice, confirming that both men and women deserve care and equal dignity.

Works Cited

“Joffrey Ballet School Nutcracker 2019 NYC Trainee Performance.” YouTube, uploaded by Joffrey Ballet School, Web.

Owen, Christopher, and Amy Crawford. “Introduction to the Special Issue: The Two-Hundred-Year Legacy of ETA Hoffmann Transgressions of Fantastika.” Marvels & Tales, vol. 34, no.1, 2020, pp. 13-19.

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