Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker **REVIEW**

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's 35th Anniversary performance of The Nutcracker is a fantastical holiday production. From start to finish the performances were spectacular. It has been ages since I've observed a full orchestra. I was beyond excited when I saw the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra setup and ready for showtime.

Woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments bring unique characteristics to any performance. And are necessities to an orchestra. However, my love for string instruments is everlasting. I played the violin for years as a child. When I became that "too cool" teenager, I did not stick with it. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had continued with it.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker is a holiday tradition in Gwinnett County. After watching this captivating performance, I can see why. All the students in the company have a role in this timeless classic. I absolutely love that they include some of their youngest students in the production. It gives the children a sense of unity and that they are a part of something bigger. And they were adorable in costume.

The crowd loved when miniature mice and mini toy soldiers were front and center. I was even more impressed at how poised and disciplined they were. They truly love the stage and take their roles serious.

This rendition of Tchaikovsky's ballet took the audience on an extraordinary adventure. There were holiday theme screens, eloquently decorated costumes and even snow. The set details were captivating. The props such as the toys looked as if they were pulled from your favorite story book. You had to pay close attention or you might miss something.

I adored the fact that all the females had the same hairstyle. The young ladies wore a gathered ponytail with superb curly ringlets. The curls were stunning and had bounce. The costumes were breathtaking. Swarovski crystals and sequins glistened the stage. But nothing could distract my eyes away from the fabulous footwork. These performers have been at this for a while and their hard world shows. No one missed a step and they all hit their mark.

I was pleased to see several male dancers. Young men are encouraged to explore the arts and it was good to see that.

More than anything it really warmed my heart to see so many young people delve into such a craft. This company is doing amazing things with our youth and that alone should be celebrated.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre is my favorite dance company. This performance of the Nutcracker solidified that. They get the "Ash Said It" seal of approval. It was entertaining for the whole family, there were a few quirky moments and you will leave the theatre with your imagination revitalized.

Do yourself a favor and take your family and friends to this show. You'll be glad that you did.

Congratulations to the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre for yet another stellar production. I look forward to the magnificent programs that you will explore in 2017.

CLICK HERE for ticketing info.

Photo Credit: Richard Calmes

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