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BWW Review: Celebrating the 21st Anniversary of The Yorkville Nutcracker with DANCES PATRELLE

With the holidays right around the corner, many folks are making their way to the theater to see a Nutcracker performance- which has become a favorite holiday tradition, bringing families together for an intergenerational event. This season is no different. On the evening of Friday, December 9th, I had the opportunity to see Dances Patrelle present The Yorkville Nutcracker at The Kaye Playhouse located on the campus of Hunter College. Special guests included Abi Stafford, Craig Hall, Maximilien Baud, and Therese Wendler of New York City Ballet. In addition to all this, students from the city's prestigious schools such as Alvin Ailey, Ballet Hispanico, JKO School at ABT, and the New York Theatre Ballet School to name a few, participated to make this a must-see production.

This year marked the 21st anniversary of The Yorkville Nutcracker. Set in 1895, the dancers take audiences on a journey through Olde New York's landmarks including Gracie Mansion, the Crystal Palace at the New York Botanical Garden, and ice skating in Central Park. The story begins on a snowy Christmas Eve at a holiday party hosted by Hamilin and Jane Babcock and their children Mary and Putnam Bradlee, owners of Gracie Mansion in celebration of The Honorable William L. Strong, who has just been elecTed Mayor of New York. Mayor Strong invites a number of dignitaries from different nations including Spain, Persia, Russia, China, and France for the special gathering. Following the party, the story continues with the magical journey of Mary's dream.

This was such a great production! The costumes were beautiful, the sets were lovely, and the dancers were amazing. Mr. Patrelle, known for attracting great talent, shows that his reputation still stands. These dancers are so talented as they move with such grace and elegance, and strong technique. Absolutely stunning.

The Nutcracker truly shows the power of dance and its ability to reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Sitting in the theater, I saw families with moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. There were couples, a few single people attending alone, older folks, younger folks, you name it. This is a perfect example of how dance and the arts can bring us together for a magical experience where it doesn't matter what you look like, where you came from, and who you may or may not have voted for. There may be feelings of uncertainty in light of recent political events, but one thing I know for sure is that no one can take away the magic one feels from attending a performance.

Dances Patrelle, under the direction of Francis Patrelle, is a dynamic ballet company with over 50 original ballets spanning a wide range of styles from his beloved American Songbook collection, to contemporary classics. Now entering its' 26th season, Mr. Patrelle continues to intimately connect with audiences through his choreography that is full of heart and soul.

Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

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