BWW Review: AN AFTERNOON OF SWEETS AND DELIGHTS with the Eglevsky Ballet
The Nutcracker - presented by Eglevsky Ballet
At Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
December 16, 2018 at 2 P.M.
The Nutcracker matinee presented by the Eglevsky Ballet opened with an enthusiastic welcome from the Executive Artistic Director, Maurice Brandon Curry. Mr. Curry truly choreographed this production with great attention to detail, quality, and with an unparalleled panache. The Massapequa Philharmonic under the direction of David Bernard regaled the audience with the classical music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Throughout the performance, at times, I felt as if I were listening to a pre-recorded sound track because it was so smooth. What a wonderful addition and elevated element for the audience!
The opening act of the party scene was both lively and eye catching. The audience was enthralled with the choreography, the costumes, and the sets. The enthusiastic applause was a testimony to both Mr. Curry and his performers. Chris Comfort's Drosselmeyer was absolutely superb. His "magic" created much of the delight of the party-goers as well as for the audience. Some productions have a Drosselmeyer who is portrayed as creepy and macabre. I absolutely preferred Mr. Comfort's portrayal. Erin Delargy as Clara portrayed a young girl who eagerly anticipates the Christmas celebration. I especially enjoyed the unique choreography and theatrical interpretation of Paige Sabo and Joshua Walden as the maid and butler who gave a wonderful take on this unexpected section of comic relief. Sakura Natorigawa, the Columbine Doll, is a Prima Ballerina in our midst. Her professional performance is a testament to her talent and training. As Act I continued, it was evident that the ensemble of adults and children flawlessly presented both the steps and the flavor of the Christmas spirit. Throughout the battle between the mice and the soldiers, it all was seamless and well executed. I loved the "tiny" mice who peered over at the sleeping Clara. During the pas de deux between Clara and the Prince, the elegant and smooth precision of the Prince's dancing did justice to the Vagonova training of Lochlan Brooks. The culmination of the "Snowflakes" was true to the classical form. It completed Act I with the audience anticipating the next part of the journey for Clara and the Prince.
Following the opening strains of Tchaikovsky's musical interlude, Clara and the Prince were greeted by the charming and talented chorus of angels. Mr. Brooks' miming interpretation of the battle between the Rat King and the Captain of the Soldiers was outstanding. The second Aact was filled with dances from Spain, China, Russia, and more. I was impressed by the clever presentation of the Bon-Bons dancers and Les Gourmands. Once again Ms. Sabo and Mr. Walden demonstrated to us their virtuosity as both dancers and actors. The unique addition was most delightful. The performances of Unity Phelan (Sugarplum
Fairy) and Jared Angle (Cavalier) of New York City Ballet demonstrated to the audience the heights to which young dancers can aspire. Ms. Phelan showed that her technique was precise. She even did a triple pirouette from 5th position, which not only surprised me, but I saw in her face it surprised her as well. There was thunderous applause and shouts of "Bravo" heard throughout their solos and pas de deux.
Balletomanes and all ballet enthusiasts need not travel to Manhattan to experience a Nutcracker. The choice of Long Island's Tilles Center for the Performing Arts was the "perfect" venue. On a scale of #1 - 10, I give this Nutcracker choreographed by Maurice Brandon Curry a definite #12.
Photo Credit: Eduardo Patino