Boston Ballet kicks off the season with ‘The Nutcracker’
Like clockwork every year, the end of Thanksgiving heralds the opening of Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” running through Dec. 29 at the Citizens Bank Opera House.
Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s novella and set to a classic score by Tchaikovsky, “The Nutcracker” follows a young girl named Clara who is given a beautiful nutcracker soldier for Christmas. When night falls, she’s transported by the Nutcracker to a fantasy world of action, adventure and romance — and in this case, impeccably executed ballet choreography.
Soloist Chyrstyn Fentroy says it’s the association with the holidays that makes this show a crowd favorite every December. The production is executed in a lavish style, transporting audiences around the world with Clara and her wooden beau.
“Watching the dancers year after year, what makes it really interesting is that they rotate the dances all the time,” says Fentroy. “If it’s a regular audience member, they can become familiar with the dancers and watch us take on new roles and try new challenges.” Last year, Fentroy debuted as the Snow Queen. This year, she’ll be dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time, as well as Dew Drop and other roles. The Sugar Plum Fairy is a role close to Fentroy’s heart. As a child learning to love dance, she watched her mother perform the role many times.
In the Snow Queen role last year, Fentroy danced the classic pas de deux (duet) with her partner. The Dew Drop role, she says, has given her a little more creative freedom this year because it’s danced in a group but individually. “I get to play with my musicality, or I can pull out an extra pirouette if I’m really feeling on my balance that night. And I won’t throw anyone else off by doing that,” she says. “It allows for a little more individuality, which I really like.”
This year the Boston Ballet is offering special youth pricing. Young people ages 2–22 can save 50% off their ticket when booked with an adult ticket in sections A and B. There is also an accessible performance on Dec. 17 featuring large-print programs, live audio description, ASL interpretation and other amenities to make the show available to all audience members.
Fentroy is the only female African American dancer in the company currently, though she says she’s been seeing more and more diversity in ballet.
She says, “Having a ballet company with the name of a city, you have to represent the city that you’re named after. I think it’s important that everyone on stage looks like the people that are here watching us.”