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El Cascanueces (The Nutcracker) from Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

Last night (December 16th) we went to the annual performance of El Cascanueces or, in English, The Nutcracker.

This has become an institution with our family and in fact they had to stage three performances last night to accommodate those for whom this amazing production has also become an institution.

It is held at the Auditorio de la Ribera in La Floresta and we have been attending every year since we first arrived in Ajijic, Lake Chapala in 1994 and our children have played various roles over the years. They are no longer participating in The Nutcracker but we still are moved to tears and laughter every time we attend.

This year the Instituto Loyola de Chapala continued the tradition of El Cascanueces.

The play follows the traditional Nutcracker sequences of the opening party with the wonderful magician, the battle between the soldiers and the rats, the snowflakes, the woods of sweets, the Russians, the Spanish dancers, the Thai and, of course, the Chinese dancer sequences.

There are so many things that we like about this production but mainly it is the fact that every student in the school is included in the casting and everyone participates to make this a very special yearly event.

The costumes are beautiful and colorful and this year at the beginning of the performance several carols were sung by the very enthusiastic cast members. There was loud applause and the show had begun.

We all were on the edge of our seats enjoying every moment even though we had seen it for so many years but every year brings something new and wonderful to the piece.

There is a program printed which contains all the names of the cast, choreographers and principal part holders.

We remember how much our children enjoyed being in this performance and looked forward to it as soon as the school year began.

I think the real enjoyment comes to those watching these amazing kids put on such a professional performance with such enthusiasm and every year there is some real talent.

This was probably the last year any one of our extended family members will have performed in El Cascanueces. Melissa Eager Hinojosa (youngest child of our dear friends, Michael and Maria Elena Eager) was a beautiful “Espanola” resplendently dressed in emerald green.

Even though our children have all grown we will still mark this day on our Christmas calendar and look forward to attending again next year.

For many this performance marks the beginning of Christmas and I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we do. Make it a “must see” for 2011.

Feliz Navidad y Ano Nuevo a todos.

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