BalletMet Columbus’ eighth production of “The Nutcracker” remains any child’s perfect introduction to both dance and classical music. For us former children, spotting changes from year to year becomes part of the fun.
In Act One, the confrontation between the mischievously sword-wielding Fritz Stahlbaum (Christian Chester) and his martial-arts savvy grandmother (Andrienne Benz) is played for chuckles.
In the battle scene imagined by Young Clara (Imari Carrington), many of the mice are dressed in the jackets and dresses of the party children, adding visual continuity between the celebration and the dream it inspires. Then, closing the first act, the dancing Snowflakes leave serendipitously symmetrical patterns in the snow.
Act Two teems with real dance for the aficionado, spectacle for the kids and artful combinations of the two. The Arabian dancers (Carrie West and Jimmy Orrante) look especially elegant, with billowing cloth transforming the pas de deux into a trio.
More lasting than the Snowflakes’ designs in the snow, this “Nutcracker” may etch patterns into our memories.