Category: Hal de Becker - To The Point



By: Hal de Becker



Everything it takes for a youthful ballet company to deliver a delightful, high quality performance of the “Nutcracker” was displayed by Las Vegas Ballet Company (LVBC) recently at Summerlin Library Theater.


Astute artistic direction and organization, good choreography and dancers, and dedicated ancillary support are just a few of the necessary elements for success that LVBC abundantly possesses. I’ve seen nearly all the troupe’s ‘Nutcracker’ performances and found their latest to be their best.


LVBC’s directors/choreographers, Kyudong Kwak and Yoomi Lee, contributed world-class dancing as, respectively, the Nutcracker Prince and Sugar Plum Fairy. His double air turns, quiet landings from on high and clarity of pantomime were as impressive as her fouette turns, sharp pointe work, gentle aura and lovely appearance.And I’ll tell you a secret: she was dancing with a painful injury to her Achilles tendon.


All the company dancers are trained at the Kwak Academy and showed the influence of their mentors.Their dancing -- performed on pointe, of course -- was outstanding with clean footwork, accurate body placement and unified movement in the group dances. A special moment in the ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ occurred when members of the corps de ballet criss-crossed the stage in high leaps.


Alexandra Keft as Dew Drop in Waltz of the Flowers performed her challenging solos with exceptional grace and ease and as Mouse Queen showed dramatic flair. The role of Clara was portrayed by Monika Haczkiewicz who, in the Snowflake pas de deux with the Prince, executed the demanding steps, turns and lifts with technical assurance while maintaining the ‘little girl’ image.


Isabella Schleiker, Flora Mangio, Jacqueline DePari, the Agins sisters and ten year old Samuel Kwak with his double tours were outstanding as were so many others which space prevents naming.


It has been a rewarding experience for LVBC’s many patrons to watch these talented youngsters mature over time to their present artistic and technical levels.


Even the usual ‘Nutcracker’ contingent of tiny tots performed with well-rehearsed togetherness, smiles and charm. And they did good grand jete leaps, too!Guest artist Herbert Walker Jr. portrayed the mysterious Drosselmeyer and Bob Moore narrated the story of Clara’s visit to the magical kingdom with aplomb.


The ancillary support alluded to earlier include the company’s wardrobe team which provided colorful costumes for every number and the lovely tutu creations by Suzanne Dieckmann.Other members of the team were Yuka Hogarty, Hope Jackson, Juliann Poupard and Socorro Schleiker. Uniform make-up supervision by Ursula Haczkiewicz was another plus.The technical aspects of the smooth-running production were credited to Melanie Walker and Sami Ryu.


Despite all of today’s financial challenges (including increases in theater rental fees) LVBC, a non-profit organization, has never taken a step backward and continues to progress with every season. It performs another great classic, “Sleeping Beauty”, June 15 at the Summerlin venue. Tickets are now available at