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Sarasota News Leader December 21, 2012 Page 71 the traditional dream world ��� because the ballet did follow the usual staging of the story that, in turn, is based on E.T.A. Hoffman���s Nutcracker and The King of Mice ��� there was a tree, though not an evergreen and, yes, ��� it did grow. Logan Learned as the Nutcracker not only added dash and charisma to his portrayal, but he was also an ideal partner for Sardelli as they enjoyed a stay at a New York City hotel where Jamie Carter, as an over-the-top, foppish hotel manager, caught the underlying cheeky sense of fun in Matthew Hart���s choreography. And as the snowflakes fluttered down on the brilliantly costumed group of ���snowflakes��� dancing in a send-up of the Rockettes and their synchronized, unison line dancing, I thought that though this had not been the most magical or even the most amusing first act of a Nutcracker ballet that I had ever seen, it had been enough to establish a scenario. However, I hoped the promise of a second act visit to the circus might create an experience that lived up to the pre-production publicity. Peter Docherty designed this costume for the Snow Queen. Contributed photo The second act variations, set in the dream world that the heroine, Clara, envisions, have always added to the enduring popularity of the Nutcracker ballet since its 1892 Russian debut. It seemed a natural fit as the circus world, because that offered myriad possibilities for excitement, but sadly, in this version, a parade of costumes and hints only at choreography paid tribute to the circus with sly wit and a reliance on walking and posing.

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