Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nutcracker Burlesque-Vivid Motion

Imagine Gypsy Rose Lee as the Snow Queen, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a see-through nightie with garters and stiletto shoes. Yes its a very different version of the holiday classic. One meaning of Burlesque is "performing in an upside down style" and Vivid Motion aptly portrayed that with their bawdy rendition of The Nutcracker. And another definition of Burlesque states that it "often mocked established entertainment forms." This makes spoofing Ballet's most beloved December show a natural idea. So what would the audience think?

Before the curtain went up the audience was encouraged to show signs of approval with catcalls and whistles. The program notes warned this this is a very naughty show. And looking around there seemed to be more blue collar type guys in the audience too. These people seemed to know what lay in store for them.

The opening Christmas party scene was not for kids, it was an adult swingers party where Clara drank from a magical bottle of liquor that inspired her to dream a more X-rated version of Mouse Kings and Snow Flakes. The Mice battled the nutcracker with Michael Jackson's Thriller choreography. There were plenty of strip teasing in the corp de snow ballet which turned the whole idea of what a back up ensemble is truly meant for.

The dancers technically abilities were varied. But, what was really great were the variety of body sizes. There were skinny dancers as well as well-endowed full breasted dancers. And they all delighted in shimming, shaking, and finding the sex appeal in one heck of a dream.

Performed by a large cast and four live onstage musicians the show was total fun. But, caution, if you're a traditional Nutcracker fan you're going to have to really loosen up your thinking and allow your inner kink to come out.

Nutcracker Burlesque by Vivid Motion at the St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center, Portland, Maine. December 18, 2009

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