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Backstage at Broadway's Nutcracker

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, December 21, 2009, at 11:33AM
IMGP9899 Ed Fuentes

A dancer rehearses for Saturday's performances of "The Nutcracker Swings" at the Orpheum Theatre.



This is the season when it seems every city claims The Nutcracker as its own tradition.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the first British production of the full Tchaikovsky ballet, and in New York, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker has been a tradition since 1954. Even Ballet Austin’s Nutcracker is in its 47th year.

For 2009, City Ballet of Los Angeles gave Broadway a Nutcracker of their own with Saturday’s debut of Robin Gardenhire's “The Nutcracker Swings” at the Orpheum Theater. It begin in the traditional manner, then Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker arrangement kicked in––after all the baby mice broke loose.

Why this ballet every holiday season? Subject it to all the critical analysis you can package, but it was all said in one backstage moment on Saturday’s performance when a young dancer lit up as she saw a leap, music, and lights come together like Christmas magic.

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