By Michelle Kim

The light pink tutu of the Sugarplum Fairy glows softly under the stage lights, contrasting with the white costume of her partner. Upstage, the Prince and Marie sit in awe of the grace displayed by the Queen of the Kingdom of Sweets.

The Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy performed the "Nutcracker" on December 5 and 6. Even with the increasingly modernistic attitudes of the audience, the traditionally-based Nutcracker never fails to inspire the Christmas spirit in the audience every year.

“The Nutcracker is a ballet that is enjoyed by everyone year after year. Everyone loves a party and can relate to the joy and fun of the holidays with friends and family. Every time I watch the Nutcracker I see new things that I didn't see before. Each year brings different feelings of where I am in my life but no matter what I always enjoy watching and feeling the joy of 'The Nutcracker',” said Tracey Denney, who raised two ballerinas, one at a professional level and the other a student at a prestigious Russian ballet school.

Set in the late 1800s, the ballet begins with a holiday party in Marie’s mansion, and the vibrant folds of the guests’ clothing accompanied by the friendly atmosphere of the party-goers add to the festive Christmas spirit. The jovial exchanges between the family members and their guests are reminiscent of modern-day holiday gatherings, in which goodwill and joy pass around the room in the form of presents and love.

As Marie and the Prince travel through the Snow Kingdom, the pristine white of the landscape and the snowflakes reflect the winter weather all around the world, and remind the audience of the iconic song, Winter Wonderland, while watching “snow” fall amongst the dancers.

Upon arriving in the Kingdom of Sweets, Marie and the Prince are treated as guests of honor, and presented with intricate and beautiful dances of the inhabitants: Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and more. The diversity of the dancers signify the multiple cultures of the world coming together into a magnificent production held nearly everywhere in the world, and illustrates the harmony of the different nationalities in this popular ballet.

Each dance represents a prevalent and important food or beverage, with Spanish as hot chocolate, Arabian as coffee, Chinese as tea, Russian as candy canes, Polichinelles as Mother Ginger’s children, and for the finale, the queen as the Sugar plum. The exhibition of the different foods coming together yet again highlight the cooperation of the cultures in the "Nutcracker."

“Doing Nutcracker for the past ten years has been an amazing experience. I was able to start from the small parts, like an angel, then move up to bigger parts, like Rosebud, which is such a learning experience. Being able to see the choreography process through the years and having new faces dance the parts was also fun to watch,” stated Louisa Forney, a dancer who will begin training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia.