During the holiday season, and for four months before opening night, Dance Kids of Monterey County and the Monterey County Pops! is immersed in activities surrounding all things ‘Nutcracker; A Monterey Peninsula Tradition’. All 100 on stage dancers and actors, 39 musicians and a maestro, 10 professional stagehands and technicians and over 60 volunteers join forces to make each performance magical. Our traditional Friday morning performance entertaining 700 underserved children, is our gift to the community. Adults and children of all ages from the Monterey Peninsula and beyond enjoy the beauty of the Sunset Center and the opportunity to be captivated by the lure of Tchaikovsky’s music, performed by Monterey County Pops!, Andrea Paris Gutiérrez’s choreography, Joanne Phelps sumptuous costumes, and Nicole Bryant-Stephens magical sets. The age old story of ‘Nutcracker’ adapted to our own historic Monterey Peninsula demands a full-scale production complete with a full orchestra.
The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers’ imagination by providing visual effects that are quite exciting. The Christmas tree that grows with Clara’s wish, the magical appearance of the Nutcracker Prince, the comic figure of Mother Ginger; the costume requires handling by three people once the actor is seated six feet above the stage floor — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest snowflakes which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse.
While these technical achievements are wonderful and fun, it is the beauty of the choreography and the technical excellence of our pre-professional dancers that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Clara and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeyer and his extraordinary magic, John Steinbeck, Salvador Dali, Louis Armstrong; all guests of the legendary owner of the setting of our first act, the Del Monte Hotel, Sam Morse — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the “Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy” and there is no turning back.
The popularity of the Dance Kids of Monterey County’s ‘Nutcracker; A Monterey Peninsula Tradition’ is immense and as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary year, it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone’s holiday season.
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