A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

LA Youth Ballet's "Nutcracker" / Photo by Iker Gutierrez

LA Youth Ballet’s first production of “The Nutcracker” at the Alex Theatre in Glendale Dec. 22 and 23 was magical. Artistic Director Andrea Paris-Gutierrez introduced the show by saying that a child’s first “Nutcracker” should be a traditional one, and this show (for which she handled concept, production and choreography) delivered a fairy-tale perfect one.

The audience was swept up in a dream, complete with a Christmas tree that grew several feet, adorable dancing dolls (portrayed by the tiniest dancers in the company), absolutely gorgeous costumes popping with color and sparkle (by Paula Corley), the ethereal voices of St. Mel Children’s Choirs, beautiful scenery and lighting — and snow! The talented dancers were joined by Joffrey Ballet principals Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez (LABA alumnus) as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier — an extra sweet treat.

We hope LA Youth Ballet’s first “Nutcracker” is not their last. Not only was it a wonderful experience for the young dancers, but many young people in the audience were dazzled by the magic of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece and inspired by the talent onstage.

—Julie Riggott, Culture Spot LA