December 5, 2014
If the fanciful world of Carolina Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker” seems very familiar, that’s intentional.
CBT’s production of the classic ballet is set right here in Greenville, with backdrops of recognizable landmarks such as the Liberty Bridge in Falls Park.
“The Nutcracker: Once Upon a Time in Greenville” opens tonight with four performances though Sunday at the Peace Center.
“The scenery is downtown Greenville,” said CBT’s artistic director Hernan Justo. “We know the Liberty Bridge was not built in 1890 (when the ballet premiered), but we think the audience will forgive us for that.”
Justo’s production of the ballet, first unveiled last year, includes the familiar music by Tchaikovsky and the traditional “Nutcracker” storyline — about a young girl, Clara, who travels to an enchanted land.
“I’m not changing the traditional choreography by Marius Petipa,” Justo said. “He was a genius.”
But the story is danced against a scenic design that features not only Falls Park but an idealized downtown Greenville Main Street punctuated by a Shoeless Joe Jackson statue.
The production features about 180 dancers in all, with two casts of 90 dancers each, many from CBT’s academy.