Families of Washington, it’s “Nutcracker” season!
As popular as a prom queen and as inevitable as the new year, Washington Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is presented at the Warner Theatre. The audience on Dec. 7 featured the whole gamut of “Nutcracker” fans. There were the traditionalists, the dance enthusiasts, the nostalgists and the ’tis-the-season-ists. Incredibly tiny dancers (at least one was young enough to be enrolled in “pre-ballet” at Washington Ballet) bumped into dapper boys in bite-size bow ties who chomped on enormous servings of cotton candy.
Across from the sticky-sweet offerings of the concession stand, the Sugar Plum Shoppe, a frothy pink confection unto itself, stocked ornaments — typically the shop sells about 100 per night, raking in over $1,000 on miniature Claras and Rat Kings alone — picture books and, of course, nutcrackers.
The audience spent the night bravoing at the Gumby-bodied magnificence of the professional ballet dancers, aww-ing at the remarkably well-behaved Washington Ballet students during their pint-sized cameos, and waiting for the twinkling keys of that piano part we all know from “Fantasia.” The curtain fell, and the crowd emptied out onto 11th Street. Clara was awake again; for everyone else, it was time to go to sleep.