The first Nutcracker ballet was brought to San Bernardino by Judy Noerr in 1976. It was the combined efforts of the San Bernardino Valley Community Concert Association, the City Unified School District, and hundreds of volunteers, including my friends The Morris and Savage families, who gave of their time and talents to make her dream of a ballet in San Bernardino come true.
The first production was performed to taped music, but the following year, the San Bernardino Symphony Association Board and their conductor, seeing the quality of the performance, chose to be a part of the production. That year the production was presented directly under the auspices of Community Arts Productions, a community-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to the support and promotion of quality performing arts productions. Each year something has been added to the Nutcracker to make it the production you will see today.
In 1987, to appropriately reflect the diverse communities the performers represented, Community Arts Productions and the Dance Company changed their names. Community Arts Production became the Inland Dance Theatres, Inc. (IDT), and the Dance Company is now known as the Inland Ballet Theatre Company (IBT).
The generosity of individuals, organizations, government agencies, and businesses, along with a grant from the San Bernardino City Fine Arts Commission has helped assemble productions far beyond the scope of most young companies.
Imagine that you are at the theater seeing the Nutcracker for the first time …
“Staring through the large door at Siberhaus Manor, Clara and her brother, Fritz, long for the party to begin. Soon their parents allow them inside the living room that proudly boasts the glittering cloak of Christmas. Only moments later, the guests begin to arrive and the merriment begins. Clara’s Godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, a toymaker, entertains the guests with two life-sized dolls. He gives Clara a nutcracker. The strange little nutcracker also captures Fritz’s attention. When Fritz attempts to wrench the doll from his sister’s hands, he breaks it. Sadly, Clara lays the broken nutcracker under the Christmas tree before she is sent upstairs to bed.
Unable to sleep, Clara sneaks back downstairs to find her nutcracker. With only a flicker of light from her candle, the strangeness of night overcomes her as the clock strikes twelve. She falls into a deep haunting sleep with the nutcracker wrapped in her arms.
As she sleeps, an army of huge mice led by the Mouse King invades the room. They quickly set about removing all of the furniture as if to make room for the Christmas tree, which has begun to grow. Suddenly the packages spring open and out march the toy soldiers, bunny, Raggedy Ann and Andy, now grown to human dimensions. The nutcracker is transformed into a life-sized figure by Drosselmeyer, who urges battle with the soldiers. The Mouse King deals heartlessly with the poor nutcracker, and is about to finish him off when Clara rises to his defense and kills the Mouse King.
At this very moment, the magical nutcracker changes once again, this time into a prince who happens to resemble Herr Drosselmeyer’s nephew.”
Now while this is not all of the Nutcracker story, it will give you a taste of what the story is all about and what they have been doing for 38 years in San Bernardino. However my focus will be on my granddaughter, Peyton who performed as an angel, toy soldier, and a guest during Act 1 of the play.
Ever since Peyton could walk she has entertained us at the house by singing and using her great grandmother’s four-pronged cane as her microphone. She still uses it when she comes over to visit. We keep it standing by the television so it remains in sight all the time.
Peyton has expressed a desire to be in the entertainment field ever since she could talk and she has recently reinstated that desire to her grandmother. So with her great performance in the Nutcracker, she is well on her way.
Congratulations Peyton and the entire cast of over 40 in kicking off the Christmas Holidays for us in San Bernardino.