This weekend Red River Dance Theatre Company will stage its annual production of The Nutcracker. This event is a holiday favorite here in central Louisiana. It's something the community looks forward to each season, and every time Red River Dance changes their staging just enough to keep their show fresh and engaging for returning guests as well as new ones.
Perhaps the world’s most-loved ballet, The Nutcracker was written by the Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Premiering in December 1892, The Nutcracker was Tchaikovsky’s third ballet after Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Tchaikovsky’s ballet adapts a story by the German author E. T. A. Hoffmann whose stories had also inspired an opera by Jacques Offenbach—The Tales of Hoffmann—and another ballet by Léo Delibes entitled Coppélia. Hoffmann fancied himself to be a composer in addition to a writer and, as a result, many of his plots include musical elements, making these tales the perfect material for musical adaptations like The Nutcracker and the others.
Told completely through music and dance, the familiar plot of this ballet revolves around the young girl Clara and the magical Nutcracker given to her as a Christmas present. The music is perhaps even more familiar as audience members will recognize the playful dances of The Nutcracker from not only countless holiday concert programs, but also from their use in Disney’s Fantasia and numerous television commercials.
Red River Dance’s production of The Nutcracker is quickly approaching—even as I write, the dancers are busily engaged in rehearsal. Red River Dance will give two public showings this year: the first is this Saturday, November 30 at 7:00 PM and, the second, on Sunday, December 1 at 2:00 PM. There will also be a school performance on Monday. All showings will be at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in Alexandria’s Downtown Cultural Arts District. So, purchase your tickets today, and don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition.
There’s much more coming soon for music lovers this holiday season! Remember, this Monday, Red River New Horizons Band will host its Evening of Comfort Food Music to support the local food bank. Plus, next Sunday, December 8 the Rapides Symphony Orchestra will continue its concert series with a holiday concert of their own. Red River Chorale will also give a concert entitled Expressions of Hope and Joy on Tuesday, December 17.
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a recent graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College—Louisiana’s designated honors college located on the campus of Northwestern State University. There, he studied music history, completing an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” Now living in Alexandria, he is one of the founding members of TicketCentral and will also be writing this season’s program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.