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REVIEW: MBT’s performance of the Nutcracker rivals those of metropolitan companies

Amy Grant Wolfe, artistic director of Manassas Ballet Theatre, enhances the magic of the Nutcracker each year. This year’s performance was no exception.

From the beautiful backdrops, lighting, choreography and one-of-a kind costumes created by Christina Brooks, costume mistress, to the dancing professional dancers and the cuteness factor and fabulous incorporation of tiny dancers, MBT’s production of the Nutcracker is a holiday performance that rivals those of metropolitan companies.

This reporter was lucky enough to be seated in front of a 4-year old, Ashley, from Stafford who was attending the performance with her mother and grandmother.

It was delightful to her exclaim when the live cannon was “fired” during the fight between the mouse king and nutcracker and “ohh” and “ahh” during the snow falling and wondering who “sweep all of that up.” In fact, “Snow” was probably the most beautiful scene, though all audience members have their own favorites.

Wolf draws the audience into Clara’s dream world and readies them for the second act as the stage darkens just as a winter evening snow falls and snowflakes dance across the stage as Clara begins to enter her dream.

Of course, Vadim Slatvitskiy always brings a smile to the audience as he brings his characters alive and his performance as Drosselmeyer was no exception. Ruslan Amrayev also brought chuckles from the crowd with his antics as the Mouse King–both during his scenes and during curtain calls.

All the gravity defying leaps and lifts, beautiful dancing and elegant staging accompanied by the Manassas Ballet Theatre’s own orchestra directed by Christopher Hite– all on the stage of the incredible Hylton Performing Arts Center–is a gift of indulgence and peace and stillness during the holiday season.

Manassas Ballet Theatre’s spring performance will be of Swan Lake to be danced on March 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., March 10 and 11 at 3 p.m. at Hylton Performing Arts Center located a 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas. Tickets can be purchased at

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