Clara, the centre of the action, was charmingly danced by Lilly Maskery. She has most of the female choreography, leaving the Sugar Plum Fairy (Belle Urwin) with little more than a solo.

The Nutcracker/Prince was a standout. Alain Juelg is a fine technician and unusually elegant for a young dancer; I look forward to watching him develop in the company.

As the party guests of the opening scene morphed into Chinese and Spanish dancers in the Kingdom of Sweets, another promising performer emerged: Thomas Gannon as the high-flying Russian dancer.

The choreography is based on Petipa’s original, with additional sequences and production by David McAllister. The recording of Tchaikovsky’s music by Orchestra Victoria was unfortunately over-amplified, producing a smudgy sound.

Perhaps the best thing about this presentation is the thought that when the children grow up, given a taste for ballet, they will have the chance to see an adult version that is so much better.

Meanwhile, this Storytime Ballet, which is recommended for three-year-olds upwards, continues at the Opera House until January 4 before moving to other centres, including the new Sydney Coliseum Theatre in Rooty Hill, opened just last week.



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