A cracker Christmas tale takes to the stage

YOU'D have to be a Grinch not to get swept up in the festive spirit of the Nutcracker.

The sound of fairy dust sprinkled through the uplifting scores quickly conjures memories of childhood glee at Christmas.

This ballet even came with real "fake" snow during the interval.

Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin's final offering for 2014 is everything you would want in the Nutcracker … and more.

The tangible emotion from the dancers while they execute challenging ballet manoeuvres swiftly engages the audience.

From happy children, some delightfully naughty, to cranky oldies, the first act is truly charming.

Set designer Thomas Boyd made the audience feel part of the warm lounge room as the gifts were handed out and gave everyone the chill of a winter's night when the characters ventured into the snow.

Costume designer Desmond Heeley and Associate Costume Designer Noelene Hill deserve applause for their eye-catching work too.

The enchanting Tara Schaufuss, dancing as Young Clara, receives a wooden Nutcracker who comes to life when the clock strikes midnight and fills the room with giant mice.

The Nutcracker Prince's life-sized toy soldiers come to her rescue.

Keep an eye out for the incredible Zac Fang; the height in his grand jetes as a solider and the speed of his precision-perfect pirouettes as a Russian dancer are breathtaking.

Once Clara enters the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets, we are treated to Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dancing.

But, of course, the Nutcracker pas de deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince was the highlight.

Dancers Lisa Edwards and Emilio Pavan glide around the stage, creating magic as they seem to defy gravity.

Like Ben Stevenson's charming choreography in Cinderella last year, this narrative ballet brings fairy tale characters to life in what could be a fabulous event for families.

The Nutcracker runs at The Playhouse at Queensland Performing Arts Centre until Tuesday December 23 but there are only a few seats left.

Visit http://www.queenslandballet.com.au/on-stage/2014/the-nutcracker to buy tickets.

- APN NEWSDESK



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