artandculture Ballet

The Nutcracker - An Enchanting Experience for All Ages

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 Jen Lezan

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Von Heidecke's Chicago Festival Ballet performance of The Nutcracker at College of Dupage's McAninch Arts Center. This was an amazing opportunity to see a professional scale performance outside of the city limits. Beautifully coordinated, choreographed and staged, the show was a magical experience that people young and old alike thoroughly enjoyed.

Images courtesy of Carol Fox & Assoc. 

Upon entering the Belushi Performance Hall, patrons were immediately transported to an enchanting world through the sounds of  The New Philharmonic. Led by the baton of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, the New Philharmonic performed Tchaikovsky’s classic “Nutcracker” score live for this full-scale, creatively designed and lavish production. The live music of the orchestra was a delight to the audience which was packed to the brim for the Sunday 1pm sold out show. The Belushi Performance Hall boasts 780 seats, each with a spectacular view of the stage—no seat is more than 16 rows, or 75 feet, away.

Seated in the balcony, my daughters and I had a birds eye view of the stage and orchestra pit. The audience was buzzing as the orchestra began to tune to the oboe. The families settled as the curtains opened and the familiar opening overture resounded throughout the theatre. Children were immediately connected to the show as they witnessed a familiar experience that many of them were likely to participate in less than week, the decorating of the Christmas tree and a holiday party.

Throughout this one and half hour show, my girls were transfixed as regal dancers performed each scene. From the lighting to the staging crew, the show was a wonderful experience to partake in. The dancers talents were in the spotlight through extravagant choreography under the direction of Heidecke. The dancers that were a part of this production came from all over the suburbs and city. The cast varied in age which is a testament to the skills developed in Von Heidecke's dance school. 

The dancers were joined by well known guest artists in principal roles including former Joffrey Ballet company member Michael Anderson (Uncle Drosselmeyer), founding member of River North Dance Chicago Jeff Hancock (Herr Silberhaus), former Joffrey Ballet dancer and Houston Ballet principal Randy Herrera (Snow King, Cavalier, and Arabian), former apprentice with Inaside Chicago Dance Patrick Ingram (Mouse King), former Milwaukee Ballet principal dancer Deanna Stetsura (Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy and Arabian) and former River North Dance Chicago dancer Jeff Wolfe (Nutcracker Prince).

The  Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet brought the Nutcracker to life on stage. The performance was topnotch and on par with what you might experience at one of the major companies in Chicago. The McAnitch Arts Center continues to do an amazing job bringing top notch talent and performances to the burbs. Over the last few decades, the McAninch Arts Center has remained a conveniently accessible cultural arts and gathering place in DuPage County offering exceptional entertainment and enriching programs. When you visit the MAC, you’ll always enjoy free parking, an inviting ambiance, and exciting experiences that leave lasting memories. This year's expanded line-up includes family-oriented programming, FREE outdoor concerts, and pop music. Learn more and see our entire season schedule here

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