One of the best ways to experience the holidays is through the eyes of a child. One of the best traditions of the holidays is seeing a performance of “The Nutcracker” on stage.

The American Midwest Ballet’s production of this beloved family classic is so beautiful, so enthralling, it will capture even the oldest adult’s attention and hold it, taking them back in time to a place where they are once again a child seeing something truly magical for the very first time. It is a special experience.

This story of young Clara, who receives a Nutcracker from her eccentric Uncle Drosselmeyer, and her dream that takes her into a magical world of dancing, mice, snowflakes, flowers and sugar plums, is made wonderful by the colorful scenery, gorgeous costumes and of course, skilled and stunning choreography. The 29 professional dancers — and more than 100 dancers from the community — of the American Midwest Ballet capture the audience’s attention and imagination is each movement.

Among the highlights of the performance are the ethnic variations, each detailed by costume and culture. There are the traditional favorites such as the Russian variation, and the non-traditional. The Chinese variation features a delightful detailed dragon and the French variation included at giant, three-tiered cake that acted as a Trojan horse of sorts, bringing more dancers to the stage.

New the year in the American Midwest Ballet’s performance, is the variation in India’s bharatanatyam style of dance — the oldest and now most popular style of Indian classical dance. The dancers movements are swift and precise, but flow together like a natural river current. The detail in this variation is exquisite, right down to the silks and jewelry in the dancer’s costumes.

While the different variations are on the shorter end, they lead up to the larger, and perhaps more grand, performances of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and the Dew Drop Fairy and her dancing flowers.

All timed perfectly with the music of Tchaikovsky, this production of “The Nutcracker” was so fascinating and consuming, that it seemed to capture the full attention of all of the children in the audience. Kids will especially love the performance of the Rat Queen and her rats in the first act as they prance comedically around stage and fight over a large piece of cheese.

There are still three local performances of The American Midwest Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker”: at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, and 2 p.m. Dec. 8. All three of those shows will be held at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Omaha. Tickets are available at ticketomaha.com or by calling 402-345-0606. For ticket links and more information, visit amballet.org.

There are many ways to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. Attending The American Midwest Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” should be high on that list. It is a holiday joy for all ages.

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