Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 3, 1997)
By Liza Holtmeier
• For more than 100 years, visions of Sugar Plum Fairies have
danced in our heads.
The tradition continues this year in Omaha and Lincoln with
productions of “The Nutcracker” ballet by the Ohio-based
Dayton Ballet and the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company.
“I think the reason ‘The Nutcracker’ has remained so popu
lar is because it’s about the holidays and it’s about magic,” said
Beth Common, director of marketing and development for
Dayton Ballet. “It’s apple pie and Houdini.”
A holiday classic, “The Nutcracker” tells the story of a
young girl named Clara and her trip to the Land of Sweets with
her Nutcracker Prince.
It begins with a Christmas party at the Stahlbaum house,
where two children, Clara and Fritz, anxiously await the guests’
arrivals. One of the guests is the children’s godfather, Herr
Drosselmeyer delights the party guests with two life-size
dancing dolls and gives Christmas presents to Fritz and Clara.
Clara’s gift, a brand new Nutcracker, is the star of the party,
but Fritz, overcome with jealousy, breaks it. Drosselmeyer tries
to fix the Nutcracker by tying a handkerchief around its jaw.
As the party guests leave the Stahlbaum house, Clara sneaks
back to the Christmas tree to check on her Nutcracker.
Here, strange things begin to happen.
The Stahlbaum Christmas tree grows to 10 times its height,
mice scurry around the room, and a battle ensues between the
Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The Nutcracker calls on his sol
diers to help him, but it is Clara who saves him by killing the
Mouse King with a blow from her slipper.
As the mice carry the Mouse King away, the Nutcracker
turns into a prince. He whisks Clara off to the Land of Snow
where the Snow Queen and her dancing snowflakes perform.
After the Land of Snow, the Prince and Clara proceed to the
Land of Sweets. They are entertained by a variety of characters,
including the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
As the dream ends, Clara finds herself once again by the
Christmas tree with her beloved Nutcracker.
The ballet originally premiered in December 1892 at the
Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Choreographed by
Kirov Ballet Master Marius Petipa with music by Peter Ilyich
Tchaikovsky, the ballet was based on a revised version of E.T.A.
Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King.” ^
The ballet first made its debut in the United States in Jfl
1954 under the direction of Kirov-trained George
Since then, hundreds of productions of “The 9
Nutcracker” have been performed every year. Each com- 9
pany tries to give the ballet a distinctive mark. 9
Differences include time periods and costumes.
The Dayton Ballet always sets its production exactly 9
100 years ago. In the program, directors include a list of 9
events that occurred in 1897 in the world, in the nation and 9
in the city in which they are performing. 9
“One of the interesting things that happened in 1897 is 9
that the gentleman from the Chicago Tribune wrote ‘Yes, 9
Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus,”’ Common said. w
Dayton Ballet also allows the party guests to repre- «
sent families that lived in 1897. The families hon
ored this year during the Omaha performances will
be the Michaelsens, the Holmquists and the
iNuicracKer proaucuons are aiso aisun
guished by their use of children in the ballet.
In the original production, Petipa used stu
dents from a nearby school - now called the
Vaganova Ballet Academy - who were
being trained for the Kirov company.
Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s
production uses more than 200 local and
regional dancers. Sara Mahoney, a
Pius X High School sophomore,
plays Clara. Kevin Gibbs, a senior
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
dance major, plays the Russian
Ballet Omaha in September
auditioned more than 200 children
from the Omaha-Council Bluffs
area for Dayton Ballet’s production.
One hundred children between the
ages of 5 to 13 were chosen and divided into
two casts. They have been rehearsing since the
first weekend in October.
“A lot of ‘Nutcrackers’ try to use children,
but a lot of times they’re like living scenery,”
Common said. “In this one, they really
aance. iney are an active
of the show.”
Derrick Wilder, the manag
ing director for Ballet Omaha,
said the children performing
were students with avid dance
interests who might consider
“This is a great
opportunity for them
to interact with a
P Aaron Steckelberg/DN
Lincoln ‘Nutcracker’ variations to appear
1 he Dayton ballet will per
form their version of “The
Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and
Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and
Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre,
409 S. 16th St. Tickets are $ 18, $25
and $29.50 for adults and $12,
$17.50 and $19.50 for people 60
and older and children 12 and
younger. For further information,
call (402) 346-7332.
The Lincoln Midwest Ballet
Company will perform their pro
duction of “The Nutcracker” at the
Lied Center for Performing Arts in
Lincoln Saturday, December 20 at
2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday,
December 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are
424, $20 and $18. Tickets for chil
dren under 18 are half price.
To order tickets, call the Lied
Center Box Office at (402) 472
Literary magazine seeks broader horizons i
By Bret Schulte
You don’t have to smoke Camels,
wear a black turtleneck or even have
a ponytail to submit your literary
accomplishments to the English
department’s creative writing maga
zine.- •' /1
Laurus, the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln’s only exclusively
undergraduate literary publication,
has notoriously been an outlet for
English majors wishing to publish
their poems, stories and essays. But
student editor Joe Burns said he is
looking for voices that don’t normal
ly ring through Andrews Hall to be
featured in this year’s edition.
“It is a chance for all undergrads
of all colleges to be recognized as
writers, thinkers and artists, not just
English majors,” Burns, a senior
_ f 1
English major, said. “There are peo
ple that publish books of poetry that
are lawyers and insurance agents.
Not all writers are teachers or
Since its conception about a
decade ago, Laurus has served as a
forum for creative writing efforts of
any UNL student. Throughout these
years, magazine editors have hoped
to create a publication indicative of a
diverse student body with unique
interests, goals and dreams.
However, the overwhelming per
centage of entries to the magazine
has consistently sprung from the
English department, which, Burns
said, is to be expected. But this year,
editors are actively seeking non
English majors alongside their more
bookish counterparts to submit their
thoughts, essays and ideas to the
journal to guarantee a magazine
more representative of the UNL stu
To encourage such participation,
Laurus editors are expanding the
magazine’s literary format from the
poetry, fiction and non-fiction of
previous years. Now, Bums said stu
dents can submit almost any type of
composition, including one-set
plays, free-form essays, literary crit
icism and “anything written-and
“This is being done to receive a
broad range of work, to extend it
beyond the realm of standard
English compositions,” Burns said".
In the past, Laurus has tried a
variety of angles to attract reader
ship, said Greg Kuzma, the maga
zine’s faculty adviser and a .UNL
English professor. The active plan to
diversify the magazine may not be
the correct one, Kuzma said, v
“The interest is in the subject of
diversity,” he said. “It’s just an exper
iment. Should Laurus dare to have a
focus topic with maybe 20 percent of
its material within that realm?”
A new plan can’t hurt the maga
zine, which may sell consistently
within the confines of Andrews Hall,
but rarely attracts attention else
where, resulting in boxes of unsold
books year after year.
Kuzma believes the problem lies
not in the content of the magazine,
but rather in the properties of the
“The challenge here is how can a
magazine that comes out once a year
have a constituency,” Kuzma said.
“How can it have an urgency and be
an annual?” -
The publishing of the magazine
dates back further than the participa
tion of the board’s current members,
who are not quite sure about the
name of the magazine, or even its
founder. But their dedication seems
By guaranteeing space strictly to
undergraduate writers of all beliefs,
colleges and experiences, the
beloved magazine of the English
department intentionally is being
designed to allure the artist and poet
in every UNL student.
Submissions will be reviewed by
a four-student editorial board, which
will select entries and produce the
magazine during the spring semes
ter. The magazine will be published
over the summer, Kuzma said.
Entries to the magazine are due
by the end of the semester, and can
be submitted to the Laurus mailbox
in the English department. Contact
Greg Kuzma at (402) 472-1802 for
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