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Innovative Nutcracker production comes to Comfort

Party Dancers - Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi.jpg
Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi
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Party Dancers

The Nutcracker is back, but this version has an edgy, jazzy sound. The innovation doesn’t stop there. From its location to its production design, this is not your grandfather’s Nutcracker.

The Ingenhuett in downtown Comfort on High Street will host the performance. Here’s Ventana Ballet’s AJ Garcia-Rameau.

“The Ingenhuett has a very deep history. It was previously a post office and then it was a bank general store,” Garcia-Rameau said. “As it stands now, however, it is a wedding venue and events venue and looks so beautiful.”

And then there’s the music.

“We use a Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. So it's very jazzy, very fun,” she said.

Further, rather than the audience just sitting in a seat facing a stage, the performance will happen all over the place. She calls it an immersive performance.

“Immersive basically means that the audience is going to experience the performance from all sides. And so the audience will be invited to sort of move through these spaces as the performances are happening,” Garcia-Rameau said. “So the audience kind of can experience the dance all the way around them from from the front to back and the sides.”

It’s called The Watchmaker’s Song, and character Clara’s uncle is the Watchmaker.

Sugar Plum Fairy _ Snow Queen - Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi.jpg
Photo by Farid Zarrinabadi
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Sugar Plum Fairy Snow Queen

“In the story that we're presenting, he and his niece Clara have the unique capability to pause time. So throughout the story that the audience is surrounded by, you can see that Clara, with her newly found ability to pause time, she's sort of playing with that in the story,” she said.

While the production is full of innovations, one aspect will remain traditional. “For the final act, the Sugar Plum pas de deux we will be using a recording from the orchestral version of the Tchaikovsky Nutcracker,” Garcia-Rameau said.

Shows are this Friday and Saturday evenings at 6PM, and then a matinee.

“We're adding a new show to Comfort this year on Saturday,” she said. “It'll be at 1:30 p.m. and that is sort of a matinee performance for the children. So it'll be more interactive.”

Children will be invited up join the dancers.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

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