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The 11th edition of the Samir Kassir Foundation's Beirut Spring Festival opened with "The Nutcracker and I," a whimsical reimagining of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet, created by British-Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu.To Clara he presents a red-lacquered nutcracker.As night falls, Clara curls up to sleep by her nutcracker, where she dreams of being transported to a magical realm.Clara learns new tricks from her friends, leading to group dances, as well as a lovely duet between Clara and the Nutcracker, now transformed into a prince.Ballantyne spends much of the performance staring in amazement at the animated figures and less time actually dancing, so those coming to "The Nutcracker and I" expecting a ballet performance may feel short-changed.
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