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Review: Ballet West’s ‘Nutcracker’ is a holiday must-see

Dance review » Production is fast-paced, fresher than ever.



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Standouts in the Saturday cast included Arolyn Williams’ vibrant Flower Queen, Aidan DeYoung’s athletic performance as lead Chinese Dancer and Rex and Ronald Tilton’s cooperative turn as Mother Buffoon (top and bottom halves), which made much out of little, drawing loud laughter. Christopher Anderson’s Drosselmeyer lacked mystery in the earliest scenes but acquired some during the dream scene.

It was Katherine Lawrence, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, who owned the evening, though. Her dancing is precise and beautiful, and she radiates youthful freshness. Michael Bearden gave a generous performance as her Cavalier and revealed his own fine footwork, too.

At a glance

Ballet West’s ‘The Nutcracker’

In its sixth decade, Ballet West’s “Nutcracker” is faster-paced and fresher than ever. A holiday must-see.

When » Through Dec. 31 (no shows Sundays and selected Mondays and Tuesdays); otherwise, nightly at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Dec. 24 and 26. (Check balletwest.org for additional matinees

Where » Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets » $19-$75 (plus service fees) at 801-255-ARTS or arttix.org

Running time » Two hours, including 20-minute intermission

More » Sugar Plum Parties, $5, will be held after matinees (exec. Dec. 24 and 31). “Nutty Nutcracker” performances will be Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 31 at 2 p.m., which feature whimsical surprises tucked into the traditional choreography.

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There are good reasons that Ballet West’s "Nutcracker" has endured so long. Christensen’s original is honored in the current production but is improved by subtle changes. It’s faster-paced, more detailed and is acted as well as it’s danced.

The children in the cast charm but also impress.

Take the children you love to see it, and don’t be surprised if you enjoy it as much as they do.

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