A classic comes to life

A classic comes to life

Infectious Energy

There was an unmistakable enthusiasm in their movements. This rather huge cast, all students of Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet, performed the popular Christmas story, ‘The Nutcracker’ in several acts and each act had not less than 90 people on stage.

For some, the ‘The Nutcracker’ is an enchanting Christmas story; for others it is a coming-of-age drama following the young girl Clara’s journey from childhood to womanhood; and for a few others, it is an allegory of the inner experience of a young girl falling in love for the very first time.

“This version of ‘The Nutcracker’ was somewhat abridged to hold the audience’s attention, while at the same time it retains all the key elements of the story,” explains Yana Lewis, director of Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet.

The opening scene is a 19th century German town where townsfolk are preparing for Christmas celebrations. Suddenly, the lights grow dim as the magician toy-maker – Herr Drosselmeyer – leaps into the room weaving a mysterious spell. His entry changes everything. He is introduced to Clara and her mischievous sister Fritzi.

The two are presented two large keys which they discover are for winding up the magical dolls that Drosselmeyer has brought to entertain the guests. Drosselmeyer gives Clara the Nutcracker doll which breaks while she’s playing with it.

This is where the story takes a twist. It’s a tale of what love does to a little girl and how it transforms her life.

Ballet, as a dance form, is not popular in the City but Yana, one of the few certified teachers to teach the dance form, has been doing her bit to popularise it. “It was challenging to get 400 people to perform in sync with each other. But my students are disciplined and dedicated to the art form. They never compromised on perfecting their steps and would never hesitate to do them over and over again until they mastered it,” explains Yana. She says that the art forms requires in-depth training, commitment and discipline.

Martin, the lead dancer and teacher, has been learning, teaching and performing ballet for as long as he can remember. He likes to call ballet a universal dance form. “Indians have an amazing body structure for ballet and I must say that they are punctual and disciplined in this form. It’s slowly gaining popularity here in the City. I for one, had a great time training this huge cast,” he observes.

Those in the audience couldn’t stop raving about how well-trained the students were. The ‘The Nutcracker’ is a classic that everybody knows. It was adapted very well to suit the Indian setting. I really enjoyed the performance,” says Sheela Johnson, a member of the audience.

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