Northeast Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” on Sunday at Proctors was a magical and satisfying afternoon for a near-capacity crowd, most of them children.
Danced to a tape of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical score, the ballet is in two acts. The first introduces many of the characters, especially the little girl Clara, who was danced by a very self-possessed Emma Chaney. The second act had all the ethnic dances that presented the company’s skilled corps, the real-life horse “Bonnie” fitted out with golden hooves and the two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet: Lauren Lovette as the Sugarplum Fairy and Gonzalo Garcia, her Cavalier.
Visually, the production was a confection of sumptuously colorful costumes and Alice Manzi’s fanciful sets that included a huge lit Christmas tree that grew, a winter scene with falling snow and a pastel concoction with oversize ice cream cones.
It was the company’s 29th performance.
Except for those dances done by the NYC Ballet dancers, which had been choreographed by George Balanchine, Northeast Ballet’s Darlene Myers, the company’s founder, choreographed the ballet with lovely patterns and a good use of the space. She had much to be proud of in Sunday’s performance. Everyone, especially the many little children who squirmed out from under Mother Ginger’s massive skirt, knew their parts and generally worked well with the music. The mice ran rampant with glee, the props all worked, and the show ran right along at good pace.
Most impressive were some of the leads. Kathleen Breen Combes was a center of calm elegance in the Snow pas de deux with Yury Yanowsky. The arch of her back, her wonderful stretch and brilliant technique were perfect. Yanowsky was a bit rough, but he was the exuberant and precise partner to her later in the Arabian dance. Luca Spadinger got great air in his jumps in the Russian solo, and Samantha Percy as the Dewdrop Fairy was delicate and light.
Lovette and Garcia were superb. Their musical timing, brilliant techniques, exceptional unity, and joyous but controlled abandon in their stylish solos was the frosting on the cake.