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I had never seen THE NUTCRACKER until this afternoon.  Quintin, to his knowledge, had never seen a ballet.  So, today was a rare treat for us, both.

This production was a brilliant collaboration between The Dayton Ballet and The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.  It was beautifully executed in every way!  What was so exciting, for me, was to see my seventeen year old son leaning forward in his seat to watch the orchestra, and staging.

I don’t know how I have missed making THE NUTCRACKER a part of my holiday tradition, but I can guarantee it will not happen again.  And despite inserting it within last minute Christmas preparations was a brilliant decision on my part.  Today’s presentation at The Schuster Center seemed to wrap up this Christmas with a beautiful, musical bow.

I must be honest… as the Snow Queen and Snow King danced during the finale to Act One, my eyes were moist with emotion from the sheer beauty, and artistry I was witnessing.  I love these moments when my own field of the performing arts can still move me.

At intermission, Quintin and I sat out on the upper balcony’s balcony watching the folks that passed by.  Quinny said that we’ve really seen some great things the past few weeks, right in our own backyard:

The Human Race Theatre Company’s production, OLIVER!

The Muse Machine’s understudy performance of their January production, CRAZY FOR YOU

The Dayton Balley & Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s, THE NUTCRACKER

Three weekends with a brilliant musical offering for each.

Mastro Neal Gittleman never ceases to amaze me with his energy, and the exciting quality he manages to capture with his musicians.  For one thing, unlike so many professional conductors, you can actually follow his conducting – he is fun to watch!  And, there were several movements from THE NUTCRACKER I had never heard before, or at least did not recognize them as a movement from the score.  There were also incredible musical lines I had never noticed in recordings – Tchaikovsky is one of my favorite  composers.

The real treat was the question/answer session following the production.  Featured dancer, Case Bodamer, and two of his lovely colleagues, fielded questions from gathered audience members, and truly added an additional dimension to this total experience.   Knowing the familiar post-performance fatigue that often sets in, I so appreciated this trio taking the time to share their experiences, and their passion, with those of us gathered.

So, Miami Valley folks: you must go see Dayton Ballet’s 2013 production of THE NUTCRACKER.  My son and I will be there as part of our family’s new tradition.

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