‘A Very Chico Nutcracker’ delivers on holiday cheer

Angeline Stansbury (Adelaide Sands) and the Nutcracker Prince (Christopher B. Nachtrab) join the Almond Blossoms in dance. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

Angeline Stansbury (Adelaide Sands) and the Nutcracker Prince (Christopher B. Nachtrab) join the Almond Blossoms in dance. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

This past weekend, small almond blossoms, a magical toy maker and a daunting mouse king graced the stage in Laxson Auditorium. There’s only one ballet this time of year that encapsulates all of the aforementioned, “The Nutcracker.”

Friends of the Chico Community Ballet, Chico Performances and Chico Creek Dance, hosted their 14th annual production of “A Very Chico Nutcracker,” producing yet another magical ballet.

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The ballet began with the classic tale of the Stansbury family and a magical toy shop. Toy maker Drosselmeyer, played by guest performer Derek Ralston, tinkers with an unusual nutcracker to the right of the stage, before heading to the Stansbury residence for a Christmas party.

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Angeline Stansbury (Adelaide Sands) dancing during the Stansbury's Christmas party. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

As the night evolved, the audience watched as Drosselmeyer handed out gifts to children and performed seemingly harmless magic tricks at the Stansbury Christmas party. The scene came to a climax as a gifted nutcracker is broken. Drosselmeyer magically repairs the nutcracker before the party diminishes and the remainder of the household falls asleep.

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Drosselmeyer (Derek Ralston) guides his magical creation. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

As the second scene commences, viewers looked on at a dark stage where young Angeline Stansbury, played by Adelaide Sands, is clutching the nutcracker to sleep, unaware of the adventure to come.

Suddenly awoken in a dazed commotion, Stansbury is lead through a harrowing battle between a mouse king and enlarged nutcracker prince. As the ballet carried on, the mouse king was defeated and in a turn of events, the nutcracker transformed into a handsome prince.

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Drosselmeyer (Derek Ralston) presents a full sized Nutcracker. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

The prince and Stansbury waltz through a land of almond blossoms before reaching the Kingdom of Wildflowers, where they were greeted with beautiful performances from far away countries and dancing poppies.

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Almond Blossom Queen (Tirza Panunto) makes her appearance among a beautiful orchard. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter
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Almond Blossom Queen (Tirza Panunto) and the rest of the Almond Blossoms dance in the almond orchard. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

The magical adventure comes to an end as Drosselmeyer lures Stansbury back into a deep sleep, where she wakes up back home and realizes it was all a dream.

The ballet was met with rousing applause and a standing ovation. The young cast continued to bow and thank the audience with grinning faces and friendly waves.

This year’s performance of “A Very Chico Nutcracker” was unlike any other. It was emotional and moving without saying a single word. It’s evident that the young ballet dancers and performers of Friends of the Chico Community Ballet, Chico Performances and Chico Creek Dance have a promising future ahead of them.

Melissa Joseph can be reached at o[email protected]