On December 14, 3013, I attended the Nutcracker Ballet at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This ballet was put on by the La Crosse Dance Center’s. When critiquing a dance performance there are lots of things to take into consideration. You should pay attention to the following: number of turns, speed, coming up and down and on and off point, direction of turns, extension, elevation, suspension, recovery, balance, posture/alignment, partnering, ensemble work, expression/artistry, and ease/daring. Although I am not an expert dance critique, I was able to recognize a lot of these topics and even elaborate on them through my knowledge from Dance Appreciation. The main character of this ballet was a younger woman; I would say around the ages of 15 or 16. Her name was Katherine. I would say that Katherine had an excellent performance and was very entertaining to watch. Like I stated before, I am not a professional dance critique by any means, but I would say that she excelled in all of the topics listed above about things to pay attention to during a dance performance.
Katherine made her dancing seem effortless and easy and even made me believe that I could also dance the way she does. I think this is an extremely important quality to have as a performer: to make it look effortless. Along with Katherine’s ability to turn multiple times, she was even able to do it quite rapidly. Katherine did more turns than leaps but when she did the turns, she made it look so easy. She always had a smooth landing and seemed to be made of all limbs; her arms spread wide and open and her toes pointed. In fact, even if she was standing during the scene and not dancing, she was still standing in a first position stance. This made her stand out from the rest of the crowd because no one else did this. She looked very professional. Also, when Katherine danced in crowds, it was as if you couldn’t take your eyes off of her. She was very fun to watch and made me intrigued to see more. I thought that she was a great dancer and I think that she will go far in dance performance in the rest of her life.
Although Katherine was the center of the show, there were also many other excellent performers in the ballet. One of them being Katherine’s main partner, John. John played the Nutcracker Prince and I was also very excited about his performance. Along with Katherine, John was an outstanding dancer and excelled in all of the topics I listed above about things to look for when viewing a dance performance. The topic that I would say John excelled in most often was partnering. John was an excellent partner to Katherine because he was able to easily lift her and twirl her and make it seem like she weighed nothing. It was beautiful to watch and made the performance even more entertaining to me. Every time John lifted Katherine he did it in such a way that it moved me. Watching them dance together made me a little teary eyed because it was so beautiful.
This really goes to show how much I enjoyed the show. And what is even more amazing about all of it is that the two of them are so young. I would say that John is also around the age of 16 and I would say that he too is going to go far in dance performance. Aside from the amazing dancers, the choreography was also very well done. I noticed that the dancers would come from the back of the stage to the front and would never just go in one direction. They would move straight back and forth or diagonal or sideways.
There was always something new to look forward too and feel in awe of. I also thought the choreography matched the tempo of the music well and seemed to really fit the scene. I was able to distinguish what was happening during the ballet and the story that was being told without even reading about it in the program. That was important to me because it made the dance that much easier to watch and enjoy when I was able to follow along.
Aside from the great performers and choreography, the costumes were also very interesting and fun to look at. It was easy to distinguish characters through costume because each character or group of characters was so unique from one another.
All in all, I really enjoyed this performance and thought it was really well done. I would absolutely recommend the La Crosse Dance Center’s performances to anyone and would even go back myself. It was a wonderful experience.