Tap dancing soldiers, sword fighting combatants, whirling twirling dancers all take to the stage for one weekend only, Friday through Sunday, Dec. 11-13, at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Island Dance Academy’s history of lavish productions, with elaborate costumes and sets, quality dancers and exciting choreography ensure a production that will entertain the entire family.
Suen Hughes, Island Dance Academy’s Director has been producing these full length Nutcrackers at the Palace since 1999. “However, I do shorten the Party Scene, as I like to move the story along at a faster pace” said Hughes. “The dancers, of course, change each year, with the choreography tailor-made for the current dancers’ strengths. The story line also adapts and, I think, improves each year.”
“The Nutcracker” ballet was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Dec.18, 1892. The composer, Tchaikovsky, who had had previous success with his score for “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake”, was commissioned by choreographer Marius Petipa to write the music for this new ballet. The Nutcracker story is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s book, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, written in 1816.
In the story, Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer (portrayed by Peter Hughes). In Europe, in the1900s, children were not given the abundance of gifts that they’re given today. A child might get a piece of fruit, some nuts, and maybe a handmade toy. Naughty children did indeed get a lump of coal in their stocking!
Clara’s brother, Fritz, gets a Rat King puppet, perhaps symbolizing his nature. At midnight the Nutcracker and the Rat King come to life, and engage in a fight to the death. Clara saves his life by distracting the Rat King. The Nutcracker’s enchantment is broken, and he once again becomes a Prince. In gratitude, he takes Clara through the land of Snow and Ice, to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where she is the guest of honor.
Keyna Wilcox stars as Clara, with Sofya Helms dancing the part of her pesky brother Fritz. Jacob Rapoza is the heroic Nutcracker prince, who fights the evil Rat King, played by his real life sister, Rebekah Rapoza. “The sword fight has a genuine ferocity” said Hughes.
In the Kingdom of the Sweets, the Sugarplum Fairy (Kayla Rimando) regales her guests with performers from foreign lands: Spanish Chocolate (Alexia Iwamoto), Arabian Coffee (Kiana Anderson, Kylie Nakano, Tatiana Ferreira and Lauren Okinaka) and a bouquet of flowers, led by the Dew Drop Fairy (Zoi Nakamura).
Tickets are being sold at the Most Irresistible Shop and at the Palace Theatre box office. Credit card orders may be placed by calling the Palace, at 934-7010.
As it has been for the last 13 years, ticket prices are $10. general admission, and $8. for seniors 60 and older, and children 12 and under. This is a co-production with the historic Palace Theater. A generous portion of the proceeds goes to the theater and its renovation projects.
For more information, contact Hughes at 961-3622 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .