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Nutcracker wrapping up Smith Center run Sunday

The Nevada Ballet Theater, resident ballet troupe of the Smith Center, is engaging in a production of a Christmas standard, The Nutcracker. This is the second year of the production, and one of the largest of its kind. In addition to almost over 100 performers, there is the full-size four story Victorian dollhouse dominating the stage.

Production was tailored around the Reynolds Hall stage, almost created to be the Cirque du Solei answer to the Nutcracker.

Performances run through Sunday.

Over 100 years old, the Tchaikovsky ballet has been a Christmas-time tradition, depicting the dream of a child on Christmas Eve. Even today, ballet companies around the world make around 40 percent of their yearly revenue just on Nutcracker productions.

Until the Smith Center productions, the Nevada Ballet Theater was using the Judy Bailey Theater as the epicenter of “high society” activity. Even still, at the Smith Center it is more likely to see a live musical version of Shrek at the Smith Center than Pagliacci. I do wish I was kidding, but one of those definitely did run at the Smith Center, and the other – perhaps the most famous Italian opera – did not. Such a beautiful center for the arts, done in an art deco style reminiscent of the black-tie and monocle days of fine arts, is sadly too often burdened by their highest grossing events. Musical Broadway productions like Wicked dominate the schedule, where the classic pillars of occidental arts go unnoticed, if given time at all.

I bring this information to you for altruistic reasons. Our city has become almost a caricature of itself, a parody of a city to whom the fine arts are lost upon. Culture – a thing that too many define loosely as “stuff poor people don’t like” – is not something we should follow our Californian and millennial brothers in turning our noses up at for not allowing us to wear flip-flops. It’s not something we should look at as the “enemy” in some engineered culture war. We should not hate on shined shoes because a sandwich spread insisted. Culture shock is the burning hydrogen peroxide that sets the healing process in motion.

Culture is a self-improving system. The more culture that is sponsored and promoted, the better the society becomes suited to promote better culture. The lack of this cycle earns a parody like Idiocracy. It earns unearned pride and weakness. It earns sin, and we all know what the wages of sin are. It’s more popular to jump on people insisting that shame is a healthy characteristic, and a hedonistic pursuit of thrilling, satiating vice.

That is why I implore you, go see the damn ballet. Wear a tuxedo, or a fur stole. Make your date wear something similar. Go out and try to enjoy something that doesn’t have robot fights, or that guy who dresses up like a granny in all his movies. Hell, maybe you’ll even FEEL something! An emotion, if you’re lucky. Hopefully, that emotion will be earned, honest pride.

This is pride in having done something for the arts, for a bunch of great kids who just want to dance, and for having effectively voted against the lowest common denominator.

If everyone would seek this kind of pride over pleasure, celebrity chefs wouldn’t come here to open burger joints, The Learning Channel would have something educational again, and you along with your fellow man may share the quiet camaraderie of self-respect. This is pride, earned by virtue, comforted by the knowledge of being unpainted by the brush of degeneracy.

The Nutcracker: The Magic Continues at the Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89106.

Show times include 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.