When Tchaikovsky plays in the background and a little girl called Clara receives a Nutcracker for a present, audiences sit up with curiosity for another magical Nutcracker season. Who can resist the Land of Sweets?
This Christmas, SDT’s resident choreographer, Jeffrey Tan brings us his version of The Nutcracker for the second time (the first was back in 2005).
Will the reformed classic triumph?
According to the Flying Inkpot, he made a few changes to Anthony Then’s SDT original:
– He framed the ballet as a tale from a children’s storybook, starting with the elderly Drosselmeyer pulling a tome from the cheery bookshelves that line the proscenium arch.
– For the first act, he moved the action outdoors to a village square.
– Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, fly to the Kingdom of Sweets on a hot-air balloon instead, journeying through Spain, France, Arabia, Russia, China, and Holland.
So what does he have in mind now?
Our guest dance reviewer, Chan Sze-Wei finds out more from Jeffrey.
ArtZineSG: Could you tell us what inspired you to re-create it, since you had one previously in 2005?
Jeffrey: Well, I would say that, for all the ballets that I create, there will always be ample room for improvement. That is also the reason why, I want to recreate a ballet and bring out the best though improvisations.
In the 2005 version, it is more like a story book, catering more to younger audiences. However, in today’s version, it is more “3D” in terms of sets designs and more contrast for the costumes.
ArtZineSG: Nutcracker is much larger than most other ballets that SDT puts up. What’s it like to look after such a large production with so many extras from outside the company?
Jeffrey: I am pleased to have rehearsal assistants to assist me especially when rehearsals start as early as September on a daily basis when the children are also in the midst of their school term.
We have approximately 200 extra dancers and 11 characters. It is definitely fun to work with the younger children and it makes me feel younger!
ArtZineSG:I’m really glad to see that Chihiro and Natalie have been cast as Clara and Sugar Plum this time. Could you tell us how the casting for the leading roles were decided?
Jeffrey: I will always take the dancer’s character into consideration. Chihiro is a natural when it comes to miming/acting which I feel that she is suitable for the role of Clara while Natalie has a more matured look and the princess aura.
ArtZineSG: Any fond moments of this production?
Jeffrey: Definitely lots! I had danced in most of the roles in Nutcracker since I started dancing ballet but it is more rewarding to see the younger generation at helm now.
> The Grand Pas de Deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier.
> Definitely the sets – you can expect pyrotechnics on stage and a Christmas tree that grows from 2 to 8m!
The Nutcracker by Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT)
Featuring: Robert Mills as The Nutcracker Prince, Chihiro Uchida as Clara, Natalie Clarke as The Sugar Plum Fairy, Paul Demasson as Drosselmeyer
12, 13, 17 to 20 December 2008
Esplanade Theatre, 8pm
Tickets available from SISTIC and SDT:
$138 (VIP box), $108, $88, $68, $48
(not inclusive of SISTIC charge)
- “The Nutcracker by SDT was AWESOME. It was spectacular, I really loved it. The children dancers were so cute and the prima ballerinas were just, wow – their control, extensions, pirouettes, waltz were almost perfect. The Sugar Plum Fairy was really graceful. She’s so painfully good! This is probably the best ballet I’ve been to. So exquisite and breathtaking!” – Ada
- “Yes why not watch it. Since this is one of the few famous ballet in the world which people will watch during the Christmas seasons.
Well, I must say this performance by SDT was so-so only. The reasons being, it didn’t have a magical feeling and there was some technical fault which was very obvious, when one ballerina tripped during the Moscow dance.”- Wisher
- “Although the nutcracker isn’t my favourite ballet, apparently the show was nice to watch. SDT’s formation was neat and the dancers had high level of control. The dancers moved around so fast and sometimes followed by jumps, which evoked a cheerful atmosphere. My rating for the show is probably 8.5 out of 10. ” – Anastascia
- “A few words to describe the piece – light, sweet, lively, uplifting, fairy tale-like and captivating! – Kwai Yin
Many people were quick to comment on the programme booklets that were sold at $10! While some expressed their disappointment in not being able to buy a copy to take home, others were questioning the price of the booklets.
ArtZine ‘s Review of SDT’s The Nutcracker