The Scarlet

Keeping You on Your Toes: The Nutcracker at Clark University

Katy Flesher, Contributing Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

I haven’t seen The Nutcracker since I was a Brownie at a classical rendition of the musical at my local theater; all I can remember is not having a good time. However, this was not the case for Clark’s production of the musical.

I went to the performance mainly to for the cellists in the orchestra as one of my friends Nick Sakoff was playing and offers some insight on the performance. “Cellists Aleena Blankenship and Elizabeth Jones have held the dream of remaking the Nutcracker for mad long…and it paid off so well.”  

I knew the show would be unlike most, if not all, other formal performances of the Nutcracker by the beginning–– as the extremely large Clark orchestra accompanied the dancers on stage rather than under the stage, in the pit. The orchestra, conducted by Samantha McGill, has been working all semester to bring The Nutcracker to life through music; and their hard work shows. The orchestra was lively and created a coordinated sound, all while staying on tempo for the sake of the dancers.

I was further amazed by one of the opening acts, which included Clark’s very own Peapod Squad and Shenanigans in a silent battle over the Christmas gifts. The performance was a healthy departure from the usual performances of the improv group, and it welcomed plenty of smiles and giggles from the audience, Clark students and Worcester citizens alike.  

The moments that stood out to me most were the performances of the ballet dancers pulled from the Worcester community. The dance societies in and around Worcester worked with Clark’s own dance societies to create a diverse cast and to present varying dance styles throughout the show. The Roxbury Center for the Performing arts presented the incredible ballet skills of Jasmine Villaroel in Act 1, and the final performance by Robin Thompson and MacKanzie Le Torie in Act 2. These ballerinas offered a genuine, classic performance of the Nutcracker’s beautiful solo dances.  

The group dances offered a different, yet equally sensational, performance. In Da Zone Dance Team wore feathery, flamboyant black tutus while dancing to the orchestra in a hip- hop style that merged with classical. The young dancers apart of In Da Zone Dance Team offered a fresh and fun take on Tchaikovsky’s timeless musical.  The group had every member of the audience hooked, making the Nutcracker their own; these young dancers really shined on Atwood’s stage.

The Nutcracker allowed for a showcase of Clark’s immense talent, while offering a platform for the ever-talented dancers from the Worcester community. The event was the most impactful for its ability to embrace different cultures through dance, all while engaging the community outside of Clark. It can be hard for a Clark student to see all the talent that the Worcester has to offer, but integrating Clark and community members allows students to burst their bubble without leaving campus. I am so grateful for walking into the event for the sole purpose of seeing a music performance, and walking out feeling enriched by the vast presentation of talent by all the varying groups. I hope to see more events integrating Clark and the community–– it is time that Clark saw the true potential of Worcester’s community!

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The student news site of Clark University
Keeping You on Your Toes: The Nutcracker at Clark University