The Brandeis Ballet Club performed its fourth annual production of The Nutcracker last Saturday and Sunday in the Carl J. Shapiro Campus Center Theater. 

The Nutcracker is a play that follows Clara, a young girl who receives a toy Nutcracker for Christmas from her aunt Drosselmeyer. Throughout the production, the Nutcracker character comes to life and accompanies Clara while exploring an unknown land, where she faces off with the Rat Queen, dances with the snowflakes and is enamored by the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

The production of the Nutcracker is put on annually by the Brandeis Ballet Club and has grown and changed over the past four years. As explained by  President Emeritus Hannah DeRoche ’19, ‘20 MA, “Our first performance of the Nutcracker was my sophomore year of my undergraduate career at Brandeis in 2016. It was a small, one time performance in Levin Ballroom where we mostly had friends and family in the audience.” She went on to elaborate that “this year, we had 2 packed shows in the SCC theater with a full sound and lighting crew, many brand new pieces, and many families from the Waltham community who we have never met but brought their children to enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker just to get into the holiday spirit!” In addition, unlike in past years, “the show is now completely a ballet showcase because we had, in the past, invited other performance groups to perform. Now the storyline makes more sense and is more true to the original ballet,” explained Emma Rivellese ’22. 


THE NUTCRACKER: Emma Rivellese ’22 danced as Clara as she gets ready to go to sleep before being interrupted by the mice, along with their leader the Rat Queen, who tries to steal Clara’s Nutcracker.


IT’S PARTY TIME: Siena DeBendittis ’21, casted as Clara’s older brother Fritz, danced to music composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky during the party scene of the Nutcracker performance. In this scene, Clara receives her Christmas gift, a nutcracker, at a party in her house.


LAND OF THE SWEETS: In the land of the sweets, Clara was greeted by many characters. Two performed an acrobatic number called “Coffee,” performed by Hannah Borgida ’21 and Alyssa Rittenberg ’21.


THE BATTLE: After the mice attempt to steal Clara’s nutcracker, the toy comes to life. Played by Ballet Club President Polina Potochevska ’20, the Nutcracker fights off the mice and Rat Queen with the help of Clara, who ultimately saves the Nutcracker from the Rat Queen with a fatal blow of Clara’s pointe shoe to the Queen’s head. 


SNOWFLAKES: The Snow Queen, portrayed by Marissa Small ’21, dances alongside her angels and snowflakes to guide Clara, played by Hannah DeRoche ’19, ’20 MA, to the Land of the Sweets. In an interview with the Justice, Deroche said, “My favorite piece in the production is our adaptation of “Snow,” as it is very unique in the way we use both modern and classical music and pair this juxtaposition of sound with changing shoes from flat to pointe and changing skirts from classical romantic tutus to modern dip dyed skirts.”


TAKE A BOW: During the curtain call, the Nutcracker, played by Simon Botbol ’23, lifts Clara, played by Emma Belkin ’21, into a fish pose.