Tough Nut Times Critic Enchanted by IMC’s “Nutcracker” Ballet

Greg Saulnier & Danielle Genest in a performance of

"The Nutcracker at Rosecliff"

Alistair Macaulay, dance critic of  The New York Times, said of the Island Moving Company’s “Nutcracker”: “The secret of 'A Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff' is in its sense of scale, proportion, musicality and good stage manners.”


The critic, who has been chronicling performances of the beloved ballet from coast to coast, was more than pleasantly surprised. His comments on the IMC presentation: “As you follow the action from room to room here, you’re so close to the performers that you’re involved in a new way. My favorite moment came in the battle scene when a child mouse caught my eye, picked up her tail mischievously and swung it in a quick circle, like rope.”


The cast of The Nutcracker & Randal Poirier take a bow

Mr. Macaulay was indeed enchanted. The notoriously cranky critic, (who recently made news when he criticized a member of the New York City Ballet for being too heavy), was tamed by the audience-engaging Newport performance. Kudos to choreographer Miki Ohlsen, and the five permanent company and 27 temporary members who danced this season.


It is a wondrous reenactment, with the audience as guests as the Christmas
eve celebration of the Oelrich family, attended by the ebullient Herr Drosselmeyer, who gives our heroine Clara-turned-Tess Oelrich a magical nutcracker, which produces the series of dream events that comprise the ballet’s second act.



Two adorable mice!

The scene on Rosecliff’s grand staircase, where the Nutcracker comes to life, and the Snow Queen and Snow King descend ( played in this performance by Ellen Barnes and Randal Poirier,) was theatrical and breathtaking.


For the second act, for which the audience was seated at tables in the Grand Ballroom, the dream sequences with the Waltz of the Flowers, The Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy, and the Chinese dance, Island Moving Company brought out its fine dancers, including David Dubois, Kristy Reynolds, Lilia Ortola, Sophia Silvia, Danielle Genest, Ramon Gaitan, Brooke DiFranceso, Christine Sandorfi and Shane Farrell. Eddie Camara and John Carr were guest artists.


 The performance that Newport Seen attended was preceded by a cocktail party for donors in the Salon at Rosecliff, attended by Board members and long-time supporters of Newport’s own ballet troupe. Incoming President of the Board Kate Spinella was there with husband Frank, talking with outgoing President Ellen Barnes and Board members Joan Martin and Barbara Caldwell. Also on hand were Executive Director Dominique AlfandreShauna Maguire manned the hors d'oeuvres table. Marie Weiss and May Caruso journeyed from East Greenwich and Warwick, respectively, while Matt Lenehan and Ruth Taylor  took in the raffle items. The pianist, Nasir, playing just outside the door, set the perfect  holiday mood.

                                                                          -- L.P.

Barbara & Captain Warren (Mike )Caldwell at the pre-party

Ellen Barnes and Joan Martin

Randal Poirier with Dominique Alfandre

Mary Beth Murphy, Laurene Sorensen & Ruth Taylor

awaitig the performance

A holiday tradition

Nasir played Christmas favorites

Adams Taylor & John Carr enjoying the Donors


 A bevy of attractive raffle prizes


Previous winners Sally & David Ryan registering for the raffle


Alyce Wright with Larry Brown


Kate Spinella with her daughter & friend


Shauna Maguire and the laden raffle table


Looking from Rosecliff's Salon to the Ballroom


Choreographer Miki Ohlsen with Frank Spinella


Marie Weiss of the IMC Advisory Board & May Caruso


Mary Beth Murphy announcing the performance


Randal Poirier with Ellen Barnes


Hermann with a wooden soldier


Mr. Poirier & Ms. Alfandre


The festive holiday table


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