46 Years of Nutcracker: Ballet Midwest Hosts Annual Production

Symbolizing good luck and their ability to frighten away malevolent spirits, the nutcracker has long symbolized another thing for many people… the Christmas season. Based loosely on E.T.A. Hoffman’s fantasy story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” the plot of the annual holiday ballet program depicts a girl whose new beloved Christmas gift of a wooden nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve to battle against the evil Mouse King.

Make the Nutcracker ballet a part of your holiday must-dos and watch this unique story transform on the stage during the 46th annual Ballet Midwest Nutcracker, December 9-11, 2022 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

At the start of the show, the stage is set as a Victorian Christmas party with boys and girls running around with holiday glee. The merry crew are led into mischief by Fritz, who makes it his mission to torture his older sister, Clara, and the special gift from her mysterious godfather: a Nutcracker.

Falling asleep that very evening, Clara dreams of her darling Nutcracker, her very own night, battling evil against the wicked Mouse King. Victorious, Clara and her Nutcracker (now a handsome prince) travel through snow-covered fields, to cascades of flowers and through the sugar plum-filled Kingdom of Sweets, where dancers take to the stage representing different countries (and their corresponding treats!) throughout the second part of the show.Nutcracker

Ballet Midwest Company and Junior Company dancers are primary players on stage, but the cast includes both adults and children from the local community. Ages 3 to ageless make up the full cast of almost 200 dancers.

Ballet Midwest’s Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday staple and will be performed live at TPAC, Friday, December 9th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 10th at 1:30 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11th at 1:30 pm.

Ticket prices are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors 55 and older, and $14 for students 18 and younger. A family pack of two adult and two student tickets is $60. Tickets can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office, from cast members, and at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance.

For more information visit www.balletmidwest.net.

 

Fun Facts:

  • All local talent! All the dancers involved are trained right here in Northeast Kansas. Many grow up performing in the Nutcracker every year with dreams of the day they perform the lead roles in the production.
  • It’s the longest running Nutcracker in Northeast Kansas.
  • Terrific lighting and theatrical effects to behold – smoking cannons, lighting flashes, growing sets, falling snow and more.
  • Costumes are stunning! The level of detail with Victorian lace and sequins makes the dancers shine on stage.
  • Christmas tree grows over 20 feet in front of your eyes.
  • Acting plays a major role in the production – Shannon Reilly (Topeka Civic Theatre’s Artistic Director) consistently creates magic on stage as Clara’s godfather. Each cast member similarly strives to bring out the best in their role, whether scary or stunning, magical or mysterious.
  • Incredible pas de deux (dance of two) to view: enjoy watching strong men lift ladies overhead, allowing them to gracefully hover in the air, spin with precision and glide through space.

 

Great Benefits Surround Dancing At All Ages

When you visualize a ballerina, what do you see? If you are like most people you see a cute kiddo with tights and some form of a pink tutu. Or perhaps you picture a super fit young adult in tights and pointe shoes dancing on stage. Very few individuals will automatically think of an older adult or senior although there are amazing physical and mental benefits to dancing throughout one’s life.

As a weight-bearing form of exercise using the full range of muscles, ballet is not only a great physical workout, but is also great for cognitive functions such as concentration and coordination. In addition, ballet helps significantly with balance and posture and alignment. It has been even known to reduce the symptoms of depression, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia.

Don’t believe us!?! Here is a short list of the amazing benefits ballet can provide to those physically young, as well as those young at heart.

  1. Increases flexibility
  2. Provides superior muscle toning, including strengthening and lengthening of some of the largest muscle groups
  3. Improves stamina, coordination and posture
  4. Increases energy and metabolism
  5. Improves breathing, concentration, and balance
  6. Furnishes a focus on mindfulness and calming
  7. Delivers a vehicle for self-expression and self-confidence
  8. Endorphin release increases happiness
  9. Burns calories
  10. Fends off osteoporosis
  11. Combats dementia

A typical adult ballet class lasts between 45-60 minutes, once a week. In that time, you can burn more than 500 calories. If one is looking to trim down, ballet can provide an opportunity to do so, but it also generally improves overall bodily fitness by increasing resting heart rate, and improving circulation throughout your whole body.

In addition, ballet allows for self-expression in various forms, along with helping with aiding self-confidence. Even if class participants never step foot on a stage, just engaging in a weekly session with a small ballet class will feed an immediate impact on mental health.

Ballet Midwest’s Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday staple and will be performed live at TPAC, Friday, December 9th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 10th at 1:30 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11th at 1:30 pm.

Ticket prices are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors 55 and older, and $14 for students 18 and younger. A family pack of two adult and two student tickets is $60. Tickets can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office, from cast members, and at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance.

For more information about benefits of dance, visit www.balletmidwest.net.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Ballet

 

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