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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Unusual Nutcracker production comes to historic Comfort, TX

Ventana Ballet performers
Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi, provided courtesy of Ventana Ballet
Ventana Ballet performers

This holiday season, a ballet company offers a new take on the classic Nutcracker musical in Comfortthis weekend. Ventana Ballet’s AJ Garcia-Rameau said this performance will differ from traditional versions in several ways, starting with the music.

“The music we use is…they stuck to the original Tchaikovsky score, but it was rearranged for Duke Ellington and by Billy Strayhorn,” Garcia-Rameau said. “So it's kind of a little jazzy mix of what we traditionally know as The Nutcracker music.”

Ventana Ballet performers
Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi, provided courtesy of Ventana Ballet
Ventana Ballet performers

And technically, this is a combination of Tchaikovsky’s story, and another one called The Watchmaker’s Song.

The Watchmaker's Song is, we like to call it, a jazzy and immersive re-imagination of The Nutcracker. So basically, we take some elements of the traditional Nutcracker ballet and also some elements from the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann,” she said.

Also, this production has something few do: it’s interactive.

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“In Act I, in lieu of having the audience watch the party scene, we actually invite them to have a party with us. We've got some cocktails for the audience,” Garcia-Rameau said. “It's a dance to this jazzy rendition and maybe some swing dancing here and there. And then we'll have some pop up little vignettes by some of the performers before inviting everyone into the venue for Act II.”

The venue is the historic Ingenhuett building on High Street, where the production will continue in a slightly more conventional fashion.

”The doll dances that people are familiar with from the classical ballet and then, of course, a dance by Snow Queen and The Nutcracker himself and the Sugar Plum Fairy will be a great way to kind of finish out the event before the audience gets to return to High Street,” Garcia-Rameau said.

There are two performances on Saturday evening, one at 5 p.m. and another at 7 p.m., and you can find tickets here.

Some of the performers shown in this video won't be at the Comfort performance.

The Watchmaker's Song 2021 Promo Trailer

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii