Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

The Nutcracker

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The Nutcracker | Photo Credit: Copper Coin Ballet Company

Toys came to life in an epic battle and lively celebration on the UIS stage. On Dec. 2 and 3, the Copper Coin Ballet Company presented The Nutcracker. The show was held both days at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at UIS. And it was a spectacular event.

The UIS Office of the Vice Chancellor generously offered limited free tickets to students and up to three friends and family members. Extra tickets were available on a pay-what-you-can scale with a minimum of $10 to be purchased two hours prior to the performance. Seats were packed as the stage transformed into an otherworldly experience.

It begins at the Stahlbaum household. Mr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum are hosting their annual Christmas party. It’s a festive and magical occasion. As guests glide and float in cadence with the classical tunes, godfather Drosselmeyer arrives to delight the children with his handmade gifts. He presents two life-sized dolls (real ballet dancers) that he winds up on their backs with a huge key. The dolls dance their mechanical yet graceful ballet. After they are finished, Drosslemeyer passes gifts around to the children. When he reaches Clara, he presents her with the Nutcracker, a toy she absolutely adores, and it quickly becomes the hit of the party. Young Fritz becomes jealous and attempts to take the toy from Clara. Amid the scuffle, the Nutcracker is broken. Clara is devastated, but Drosselmeyer produces a handkerchief which he wraps around the broken toy to repair it and the festivities continue. As the evening wears on, guests depart and the Stahlbaums retire to bed. Unable to sleep, Clara sneaks downstairs to check on her beloved Nutcracker and falls asleep on a chair with him in her arms.

From there, magical things begin to take place. Clara shrinks to toy size as the tree behind her appears to grow larger and larger. The toys surrounding the tree come to life and a battle between an army of mice and toy soldiers ensues. Suddenly, the Nutcracker awakens and begins a thrilling battle with the Mouse King. Just as it seems the Mouse King and his mouse soldiers are wearing their opponents down and declare victory, Clara makes a daring attempt and defeats the Mouse King. The mice soldiers run away, dragging their lifeless king behind them. The Nutcracker is transformed into a prince and takes Clara to the Land of Snow and then to the Land of Sweets to celebrate their momentous triumph. They are welcomed and celebrated with shows of the most graceful and enchanting dances. There’s nothing to dislike about The Nutcracker. The tale, the ever-changing, colorful and magical sets – but mostly the gracious and sometimes daring moves of the performers – are absolutely spectacular.

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