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The Nashville Ballet has a gift for delivering professional-grade productions with a Nashville twist, and the 2017 installment of Nashville's Nutcracker is a prime example of said talent. Utilizing stunning visual elements of the vibrant costumes and extravagant sets, coupled with the impeccable dancers that make the city proud, Nashville's Nutcracker is an enchanting production from start to finish.

Telling the beloved traditional story with a local spin, the Nashville Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker is a feast for the eyes and a treat for audience members young and old. The story opens at the Tennessee Centennial in 1897 at the famed Parthenon and continues to thread the Nashville spirit at the Stahlbaum's home that serves as a replica of Belle Meade Mansion, just one of the many thrilling scenes in the roughly two-hour production.

An audible gasp expelled from the audience when the curtain rose to display the breathtaking scene for the famous dance of the Snow Queen (Sarah Cordia) and Snow King (Nicolas Scheuer). The mystical set looked like a dream with a peaceful cool blue backdrop adorned with sparkling lights that shimmer like stars in the background. The magic of the scene was captured beautifully in Cordia and Scheuer's exquisite performance through their impeccable form and incomparable grace. The cast of Snowflakes made the performance even more whimsical, as the graceful dancers donned stunning costumes that made them look like magic come to life.

This sense of wonderment was a central theme to the Ballet's interpretation of the beloved story, which inspired awe and wonder in each passing scene. The Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy was no exception, which takes place in a beautiful makeshift Parthenon Garden and a set adorned with twinkling pink flowers, bursting with color. And one can't help but be fascinated when the fabulous Madame Bonbonniere (Emilia Sandoval) appears on stage in a larger-than-life costume, wowing the audience with its bright colors of peach, gold and pink while decorated with intricately designed floral patchwork, making for quite a sight to see. The students of the School of Nashville Ballet were precious at the Bons Bons, appearing from under the immaculate dress to perform a graceful dance number.

The Ballet and company's tireless efforts to put on an unparalleled performance do not go unnoticed, with each performer pairing strength with pure grace throughout the production's entirety. Judson Veach is powerful as Drosselmeyer, captivating the audience with his composure and commanding stage presence, while Carissa Surber is equally as delightful and charming as Clara. Guest conductor Ming Luke and the incredible Nashville Symphony Orchestra masterfully honor the famous score, while Campbell Baird and Shigeru Yaji couldn't have done a more exquisite job with the costume and scenery design, respectively.

Paul Vasterling's flawless choreography and fresh interpretation of the 125-year-old classic tale proves yet again why the Nashville Ballet is such a treasured institution in Music City: for its supreme creativity, gifted dancers and genuine heart that manages to enchant audiences at every turn.

Nashville's Nutcracker continues performances at TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall through Dec. 23.

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From This Author Cillea Houghton