San Jose Nutcracker taps into city's diverse culture on holiday classic

Lauren Martinez Image
Saturday, December 16, 2023
San Jose Nutcracker puts local spin on holiday classic
The Original San Jose Nutcracker taps into the city's diverse culture and history, putting a local spin on the holiday classic.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Nutcracker celebrates both the holiday classic and the Bay Area.

Set in 1905, the backdrop has the San Jose electric light tower.

On Friday, the cast from New Ballet held their final dress rehearsal for the San Jose Nutcracker inside the historic California Theater.

The audience included local students and families from Autism Bay Area.

Dalia Rawson is the artistic director and executive director of New Ballet.

"Those of us who live in San Jose and love the city have so much to be proud of," Rawson said.

She was inspired to bring the spirit of innovation to the stage.

"I wanted to create a ballet that was inspired by our hometown and set in our hometown," Rawson said.

The character Clara has a mystical uncle who goes by the name of Nikola Tesla.

"He brings the gifts of electricity to the home and demonstrates some of his inventions including setting off a Tesla coil on stage," Rawson said.

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Apricot blossoms instead of cherry blossoms and a Gilroy garlic harvester will also make appearances.

Before the preview performance, we were backstage. Rawson said dancers start rehearsing for their roles in Sept.

The costume director had a hand in creating and tailoring over 100 outfits.

The cast comprises of 110 dancers that will perform over a span of seven shows.

This year was the first season five dancers were cast as Clara.

"For me, Clara - I need a dancer with a really special soul on stage. That the audience will feel," Rawson said.

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Ellis Broderick was performing as Clara Friday evening.

"Most people this is the first time they're ever going to see a ballet performance. This is the first ballet performance I ever saw. And so for a lot of people this is a gateway into the world of ballet," Broderick said.

All performances include live music by The New Ballet Orchestra.

Angela Gullerud brought her family from Sunnyvale.

"We have read the book and Nolan came to the show last year so we're very, very excited," Gullerud said.

Opening night is Saturday.

On Sunday, 'My Very First Nutcracker' for toddlers and younger children will be held at 11 a.m.

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