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10: Cincinnati Ballet Soloist Chisako Oga (in foreground) as Sugar Plum Fairy in Cincinnati Ballet's The Nutcracker; photo by Peter Mueller.   .jpg
Cincinnati Ballet Soloist Chisako Oga in the foreground as Sugar Plum Fairy in Cincinnati Ballet's The Nutcracker performed at the Kennedy Center. / Image: Peter Mueller

The National Critics Agree With Us... Cincinnati Ballet Is Pretty Darn Awesome

The Cincinnati Ballet performed The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. during the week of Thanksgiving. After a few critics’ reviews, we now know what the world really thinks of our local ballet company.

In short, they love 'em.

Big surprise, right? Not for us.

No one who’s seen Artistic Director Victoria Morgan's unique take on The Nutcracker could be surprised by the praise. Of course they loved it. It's spectacular. It changed the way we thought of ballet. It's whimsical and miraculous, colorful and dynamic, subtle and sublime.

Still, when the artistic cognoscenti say things like, “the ballet teems with a sense of humor, love, and wonder that pulls the affair together in a harmonious, meaningful way...” and describe the performance as “complete with compelling scenic designs, dazzling costumes, and tantalizing acrobatics...” it's hard not to be proud of our local ballet company — proud of its excellence, proud of its creativity, proud of its drive to transcend that "local" moniker by performing such a daring rendition of this holiday classic before unfamiliar audiences numbering in the thousands.

And yet, it’s a strange experience being an outsider (i.e. not a ballet expert) in Cincinnati, which 13,000 people across seven performances at the Kennedy Center just discovered has a world-class ballet company.

For example, did you know that NOT ALL ballet company's productions of The Nutcracker feature a fat dancing chicken that hatches a swarm of adorable chicks mid-performance? And did you know that NOT ALL ballet company's productions The Nutcracker feature a plush dancing bear? Or a towering gateau set piece? Or a group of dancing poodles? Or a rascally male dog? Or... the list is as long as Victoria Morgan’s imagination.

I mean... If you’ve only ever seen Morgan's take on The Nutcracker, you wouldn't. But that’s exactly why the Cincinnati Ballet’s trip to the Kennedy Center is so illuminating for those of us unknowingly spoiled by the ballet here. It offers a point of contrast, an opportunity to understand just how good we have it.

And man, do we have it good.

If you don’t yet know how good we have it, I encourage you to check out Morgan’s take on The Nutcracker while it’s being performed in the Queen City. The company returned to Cincinnati on November 28th and will put on twelve performances of Frisch's Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker at the Aronoff Center from December 9-18.

Get your tickets here.

It’s totally worth it. Don’t believe me? Read what the national critics have to say. Pretty sure, they’ll tell you the same thing.

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To learn more about the Cincinnati Ballet, visit their website.

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