Ballet Ensemble of Texas presents <em>The Nutcracker</em>

Review: The Nutcracker | Ballet Ensemble of Texas | Irving Arts Center

Sugar Plum Dreams

The Ballet Ensemble of Texas showcased young talent in its The Nutcracker at Irving Arts Center.

published Friday, December 20, 2019

Photo: Cathy Vanover
Ballet Ensemble of Texas presents The Nutcracker


Irving — Classical ballets have a few things in common: pantomime gestures, elaborate sets and costumes, and magical storylines. Not only do these fairytale plots take us to fanciful places with curious characters, but they remind audiences to embrace their childlike wonder. The Nutcracker Ballet is no exception. While December brings an abundance of performances to the DFW area from professional artists and companies, there’s something special about viewing a well-produced ballet composed of young, local talent — which is exactly what I found in Ballet Ensemble of Texas’ show.

The unassuming backdrop and lack of abounding physical props focused all eyes on the darling Clara (Anna Dang, Sunday casting) and the bustling party guests spinning around her. The sheer number of parents, party children, and special guests on stage presented the challenge of creating efficient yet engaging spatial arrangements—an area in which Ballet Ensemble of Texas thrives. Without overcommitted expressions and constant group shifts, it’s easy for the traditional party scene of Act I to become repetitive and uninteresting. However, artistic director Thom Clower (who also plays an enigmatic and persuasive Drosselmeyer) managed to portray a winsome scene that enchanted viewers through the precise formations, comical exchanges, and endearing family dynamics.

One wee dancer stole the show (and the hearts of everyone in the audience) in his jaunty skips and enthusiastic arm swings. More than once, viewers found themselves chuckling as he followed the older boys in rambunctious shuffles—exuding the kind of pure, childish joy that’s hard to replicate. Its small, endearing touches like this that even explosive, international companies can’t mirror in all their professionalism.

During the post-party battle sequence, we become better acquainted with the Ben Nemmers as the Nutcracker Prince (Sunday casting) and his flawless feet.

Another highlight from this act centered on Eden Lim’s meticulous turns in her Snow Queen role. Although her partnering with Snow King Joseph Dang needed a bit more maturity and trust, it’s clear that both leads show signs of promise.

Entering into the Land of Sweets, the picturesque samplings from faraway lands is a Nutcracker fan favorite—both for their magical qualities and their technically ambitious steps. Amongst the typical Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Clowns, and other characters, the shining stars of this act appeared in the form of the Arabian trio. Matching Tchaikovsky’s mysterious sounds, the dancers intertwined themselves together in striking holds—only to unwind and slink away effortlessly.

Once again, some elements of these divertissements desperately need an update to fit today’s world — especially in the drawn on mustaches of the Chinese dancers.

One pleasant surprise arose in the Waltz of the Flowers when ballerinas in gorgeous amber tutus softly pricked their toes with fairylike tenderness. Recalling the lively staging of the opening act, viewers were reminded of the company’s strength in organizing captivating visuals.

Through the much anticipated grande pas de deux, Pearl Smith and Aldrin Vendt (guest artists of Ballet Arkansas) provided a satisfying finish to the evening. With a clear talent for turning, Smith breezed in and out of complicated sequences as Vendt grazed her body with supportive touches. Moving into their back-and-forth solos, his time to shine commenced with unfaltering turns in second — Vendt maintaining the elegance and strength of his character the entire time. Thanks For Reading

Click or Swipe to close
Sugar Plum Dreams
The Ballet Ensemble of Texas showcased young talent in its The Nutcracker at Irving Arts Center.
by Emily Sese

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :