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Dance Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘The Nutcracker’

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Singapore Dance Theatre’s (SDT) The Nutcracker ran at The Esplanade from December 4 – 8 2013.

The Nutcracker tells the familiar tale of a nutcracker toy coming to life in the middle of the night, and traces its adventures as the nutcracker battles fantastical creatures and beings, all with a human child in tow.

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SDT’s version of this well-known tale had a lot of theatrical-acting elements, especially in the first half where the performers were acting more than dancing, which might have been disappointing to us dancers. However this also meant that it was perhaps the most accessible performance by SDT for non-dancers and those uninitiated into the world of ballet and/or dance. 

And when the dance items infiltrated the second half of the performance, each segment was short and snappy enough to keep even the most anti-dance/ballet companion in the audience entertained. The best parts of this production were the ensemble pieces, which in the past I made a note weren’t co-ordinated enough, but this time around all the dancers were in sync, with clean footwork and body movements, and when the ensemble danced together, it made for a breathtaking and awe-inspiring moment indeed.

NAFA - Dancers@Work 2013

The most technically demanding steps, movements and turns were left to the two main dancers, Iori Araya who played Dewdrop and Heidi Zolker who played the Sugar Plum Fairy. Both, plus Timothy Coleman who played the Cavalier, shined in their roles as they executed complicated and tricky footwork, pirouettes, and other movements with aplomb.

The set was nice, though not as grand as last year’s production of Sleeping Beauty. However the costumes were outstanding and very colourful, and helped integrate the audience into the magical land of The Nutcracker. The best part was when the snow came down at the end of the first act, creating a wintry wonderland on stage.

All in all, The Nutcracker is a good way for SDT to end its 2013 season, as the production proved to be an audience favorite and a success indeed.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.