Nutcracker in a nutshell: Sooke dancers at Christmas
Online exclusive ~ MapleLine Magazine
Performance review by Mary P. Brooke | December 20, 2009
From music to dance moves, the fast-paced Nutcracker in a Nutshell performance by about 60 dancers of the Sooke Dance Studio was a hit by all measure. The 90-minute show that played to a full house of 350 parents, families and guests on Sunday afternoon (including intermission) at the Sooke Community Theatre venue (EMCS) was a visual delight with apparently not a sparkly costume or clever prop out of place. The show also ran Saturday to an audience of about 200.
The stageplay-style choreography was forgiving of actors young and old, with the audience's attention caught up more in the storyline than the dancing itself. The dance skills of the 5-to-50 year old troupe were skilfully blended into a larger display of creativity and tale. The dancers' ballet, modern and tap moves were coordinated with the dramatic musical inferences of a non-stop soundtrack. Cartwheels across the expansive stage by one young female dancer added a little gymnastics flair, thrown in for good measure. About 90 roles were played by 60 performers in the highly-varied dance event that gave each dancer a moment or more to shine at a suitable level of skill.
"Everyone has put in a tremendous effort," said Carole Cave, studio owner and artistic director. The show choreography was managed intensively by co-artistic director Kelly Okuszko who spoke to the audience in a poised manner (with her infant daughter on her hip, who was born during the same time period as rehearsals) expressed her gratitude for such a passionate group of performers. Cave added some 'twists' to Okuszko's traditional vision to synthesize a masterpiece of performance and fun, enjoyed by troupe and audience alike.
Creative stage design was a plus. On the video DVDs of the show particularly, it will be effective to see the sparkly snowflakes that fell from the rafters in front of the assembled dancers during the Waltz of the Snowflakes scene at the end of the Act 1. Act 2 commenced with three large billboard-style Christmas trees painted green with white snow; the second act -- which featured vignettes such as Spanish Chocolate Dance, Russian Candy Cane Dance, Arabian Coffee Dance and the pink-themed and almost tasty Sweets Finale -- clipped along without pause which was a suitable windup which seemed to be appreciated by the audience who looked forward to congratulating dance stars in their family and taking photos in the lobby afterward.
Colour and design themes for the costumes -- a masterpiece of fabric and style by Teresa Norquay -- were inventive on the holiday season theme. In traditional holiday scenes royal purple was often used as an accent for apparel that otherwise followed the traditional greens, reds and white. Angels and snowflakes were in white with sparkles. The four girls who performed as Arabian dancers were in a 4-colour set of flowing-pant outfits.
Proceeds from ticket sales, refreshments, Silent Auction and performance taping DVDs of this first annual Nutcracker in a Nutshell will go to the Sooke Family Resource Centre (SFRD) which made a strong presence in the lobby with pamphlets, display board and auction items. "Carol Cave proposed the joint venture for Sooke Dance Studio and the SFRC, offering $1 from every ticket sale and invited SFRC to provide baked goods for sale in the lobby," said Daphne Raymond, Children and Family Services Manager, SFRC. MM
|The Sooke Dance Studio sponsored the Holiday Season crossword puzzle on page 28 of the Nov.09-Jan.10 issue of MapleLine Magazine.|
This article is Copyright 2009-2010 Brookeline Publishing House Inc. All rights reserved.