Review: The Nutcracker | Tuzer Ballet | Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts

Thirty Rocks

The Tuzer Ballet's 30th anniversary The Nutcracker proves why this company has lasted.

published Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Photo: Yvette Abernathy
The Tuzer Ballet's The Nutcracker

Richardson — Children of all ages and their families packed the Eisemann Center in Richardson last weekend for Tuzer Ballet’s 30th anniversary production of The Nutcracker. Founded in 1984 by Tanju and Patricia Tuzer as the resident company of the Tuzer Dance School, the organization has earned a reputation for solid, disciplined dance instruction, and their productions have received critical acclaim. In addition to having Boston Ballet dancers Rie Ichikawa and Carlos Molina dance the snow duet and grand pas de deux, several Southern Methodist University dance students perform feature roles, which provides a nice range of talent to this show.

The ballet begins (as usual) with a party. The Stahlbaums are throwing their annual Christmas shindig and none could be happier than their two children, Marie (Rebecca Grace Moore) and Fritz (Nicholas Ady). Presents, food, and drink bring the festivities to a high point, but pale in comparison to the wonders of Herr Drosselmeier (Tanju Tuzer). Magic tricks, dolls that come to life, and a sprightly lion thrill the children, but the greatest gift is the nutcracker doll presented to Marie.

The magic continues after the party, as mice and soldiers battle it out under the Christmas tree, headed up by the Queen Rat (Jasmine de LaCruz Simpson, in a thrilling twist) and the Nutcracker Prince (Marcus Takuya Riley). The Queen Rat is defeated, and Marie and her prince travel through a wintery wonderland to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where dancers of the court entertain them. But all good things must come to an end, and Marie drifts off to sleep as Drosselmeier reads her a story.

Visually, the production is lovely. A beautiful set livens up the party scene, and intricately adorned costumes add a touch of magic. Mysterious lighting design enhances the battle scene, creating an ominous mood to what is typically a silly, cartoonish segment.

Interesting character and staging choices bring nuance to the classic. The addition of two cadets as party guests raises the technical excellence of an already well-executed scene. The Queen Rat actually enters the party in human form, developing more continuity between the party and battle scenes. Gorgeously clad wood fairies tend to Marie before she enters the Kingdom of Sweets.

Moore proves to be a lovely Marie. A Tuzer alum and SMU student, she captures the childlike wonder needed of the character and has the technical chops to handle the choreography. Riley, another alumnus, is the biggest surprise of the evening. He stunned audiences with his role as a cadet in the party scene and demonstrates even more excellence as the Nutcracker Prince. Both receive the opportunity to shine in Act II, as they have additional dancing roles while in the Kingdom of Sweets.

Divertissments tend to be hit or miss with pre-professional companies, but Tuzer pulls out a few surprises. A trio of ladies for the Spanish segment (Jennifer Grahnquist, Malia McNeny, Summer Myatt) delivers a surprisingly tight and spunky dance. Timing is impeccable, and performance quality is top-notch. Zach Biehl and Christopher Dorsey produce an impressive Russian variation with a sense of ease and lightness, given the explosive music and movement. The dancers in “Waltz of the Flowers” shine during a section that tends to be quite difficult.

The featured guests surprise as well, but not in a pleasing way. While they demonstrate the technical capacity, their performance qualities as the snow king and queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier are quite disappointing. Ichikawa lacks consistency in her performance and is missing the joyful, effortless quality, while Molina exhibits very little engagement with the audience. It seems odd, given their positions in the Boston Ballet, so this is likely chance occurrence.

Overall, Tuzer Ballet has an enchanting production on its hands. Judging from its current dancers and wealth of alumni, the school is doing something right in Richardson. It’ll be interesting to see where the company goes from here, given the recent news of Tanju’s cancer diagnosis, but he has built a strong legacy that is sure to endure. Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Thirty Rocks
The Tuzer Ballet's 30th anniversary The Nutcracker proves why this company has lasted.
by Cheryl Callon

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 :