Nutcracker Nostalgia

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Categories: Dance is the Word

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I swear the stage smelt festive. You know how the lightest fragrance can evoke a memory of a loved one, an event, time or place? Well for me, English National Ballet successfully bottled Christmas and then proceeded to let the precious elixir spill out on to the stage, filling the nostrils of the audience and creating a hazy Christmas coma.

As the ice-skaters began to glide across the stage with effortless poise and precision, I felt an immense sense of kinaesthetic empathy. My legs longing to share the sensation of sliding across an ice rink in a heady mixture of adrenalin and freedom- feelings, which I knew too well from learning to ice skate in Canada as an infant. I was reminded also of the skating scene in the Muppets Christmas Carol as the dancers began to playfully push each other, creating an element of slapstick.

Childhood memories continued to seep through to my conscious like the glitter that fell from the stage’s sky, creating snowflakes and sleepy dust that lulled the audience into a reverie. Tchaikovsky’s famous score provided a magical backdrop to the gorgeous pointe work of Tamara Rojo, whose delicate movements entranced throughout. A welcome addition to her sequences came in the form of a children’s choir who weaved harmonies around her pirouettes, whilst adding an extra layer of Christmas tradition to the whole piece.

If you are planning on seeing any performance this festive season, this is the one to see if you want a jaw-dropping showcase of skill, surprise and jovial delight.

Alison Jackson