"Clara's Dream" reimagines the holiday favorite in a ballet that still hews to the tradition. —Star Tribune 2015
The most delightful holiday event of the year, Zoé Emilie Henrot’s Clara’s Dream from The Nutcracker is fun for all ages. 100 dancers, exquisite costumes by Christina Onusko and an elaborate new opening set bring magic to the stage at The O’Shaughnessy this year. New to The 90-minute length is a perfect way to introduce the entire family to the power and beauty of classical dance with Tchiakovsky’s amazing and familiar score.
Based on an original story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” by ETA Hoffman, SPB has reimagined the star of this story as Clara. The ballet opens with the familiar 19th-century holiday party where we are introduced to Clara and her uncle Drosselmeyer, a magician who arrives with dancing dolls. After the party Clara falls asleep and the magic begins. Her dream begins with a growing tree under which a battle between mice and toy soldiers takes place. She travels through the Land of Snows to the Kingdom of Sweets to meet waltzing flowers, nursery rhyme characters, dancers from many lands and the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy. It’s a “Magical Mystery Tour” of Clara’s journey from adolescence to adulthood told with innocence and wonder to one of the most layered and lush musical scores ever written.
This year the ballet unveils breathtaking new scenery for the party scene designed by local artist Anne Henly. This is year-two of a three-year plan to enhance the production funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.
“For my concept of Clara's Dream, I found inspiration in illustrations of the Golden Age, as well as some of the Little Nemo in Slumberland cartoons from newspapers of the 1910s-1920s. These images emphasize movement within the composition, graphic line, and rich colors, all which will help tell our story of Clara’s Dream.” Anne Henly, Scenic designer
"We believe audiences will leave thoroughly satisfied by the caliber of St. Paul Ballet and the new fantastical production. Clara’s Dream,' Artistic director Henrot says, "is our gift to the community.”
"Choreographed by artistic director Zoé Emilie Henrot, this whimsical version is sure to shine on the bigger stage." Sheila Regan for StarTribune, Nov 27
"Going out: A dozen sure bets for the holiday season...Zoé Emilie Henrot's re-imagining of the holiday chestnut (so to speak) makes Clara the star of a "magical mystery tour" from adolescence to adulthood. With 100 dancers, elaborate costumes by Christina Onusko, new scenery for the opening set (the party scene) by Anne Henly, and just the right length (90 minutes), this is a perfect holiday outing for all ages." Pamela Espeland for MinnPost, Nov 23