“Nutcracker” a dazzling, whirling spectacle

The schools of Music, Dance, and Design and Production collaborate to make a universe of light, sound and motion where audiences can live for a couple of hours in an alternate reality, flawlessly beautiful and joyful.

This year’s “Nutcracker,” which opened Friday night and will run through next weekend, lived up to its promise with consistently fine performances from the Act I party to the glorious finale.

Music dean Brian Cole’s UNCSA Orchestra played seamlessly with buoyant opening notes to support the festivities.

Principal dancers with the Houston Ballet Yuriko Kajiya and Connor Walsh will dance the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier Prince roles on Dec. 12 and 13.

The man who sets it all in motion, the very mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer, is played by Chris Martin, who studied at UNCSA under Lindgen and performed at the American Ballet Theatre for more than 10 years.

One of the most enjoyable technical marvels is the transformation of the Christmas tree into a flashing, glowing behemoth, signaling a transition from ordinary to heightened reality.

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