Nutcracker ballet a mix of old, new

Now in its second year with the new generation of artistic directors, the Homer Nutcracker Ballet continues in the tradition of always bringing some fresh features to the classical holiday production. As they did last year, directors Breezy Berryman and Jennifer Norton ground Tchaikovsky’s ballet in the original story line of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a tale of a curse put on a prince that turns him into a wooden nutcracker.
Berryman and Norton also bring back the steam punk costumes and imagery of Uncle Drosselmeyer and his mechanical wonders. New for this year is another twist: a Renaissance setting, where the aristocracy is challenged by a rising inventor class. Daniel Bolton plays Drosselmeyer. Bolton’s high boots, glittery frock and pompadour hairdo give the role a glam-rock look befitting the steam punk genius.
“We had a pretty good response last year,” Norton said of the changes. “It’s fun to take it a little bit further than we did last year.”
The steam punk imagery allows for some modern dance numbers, including compositions written and remixed by local musicians Cody Davidson and Curtis Jackson.
The dances “go a little bit more modern in some of the pieces, while still having the pas de deux and the flowers and the snow that are the real classical ballet style,” Norton said.
A solid cast of Homer High School students play the principal roles, with Brittney Bordner as Clara, Mariah Stuart as the Queen of Ice and Snow and the Castle Queen, and Jakob Easton as the King Rat — a role that goes beyond the battle between the rats and the toy soldiers in the opening party scene.
Alfredo Solivan, a visiting dancer from New York, plays the Nutcracker. At 6 foot, 3 inches, Solivan brings some stature to the role, Norton said,
“He put on his Nutcracker mask the other day, and it made me think, the show is about the Nutcracker,” Norton said. “He has such a total physical presence.”
Now in its second weekend of shows, the Nutcracker’s final performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mariner Theatre.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at

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