Fordham’s Jetés Perform their Annual “The Nutcracker” Show

The Jetés perform “The Nutcracker” every year, but with more dancers, they were able to extend the Land of Sweets scene. (Courtesy of Ava Erickson/The Fordham Ram).

The Jetés perform “The Nutcracker” every year, but with more dancers, they were able to extend the Land of Sweets scene. (Courtesy of Ava Erickson/The Fordham Ram).

 Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is the most popular ballet in the world, and anybody who has ever danced ballet has probably performed in it. So, it is not surprising that Fordham University’s ballet club, the Jetés, performs “The Nutcracker” every year. The club’s president Alexi Obillo, FCRH ’22, explained that “The Nutcracker” is a holiday staple and that it’s nice to have something festive to look forward to each year. She added, “I know a lot of ballet dancers grew up dancing in “The Nutcracker” every year, and everyone has their own experience with the show.” This year, the Jetés performed “The Nutcracker” on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 in front of a live audience for the first time in over a year. 

The show opened with the elegant party scene, where the dancers ballroom danced in pairs and Drosselmeyer (played by Noel Bernard, FCRH ’24) gifts the children the dancing toys (played by Courtney Vadon, GSB ’22 and Miguel Sutedjo, FCRH ’23). The scene was excellent. The dancing, music and set really embodied “The Nutcracker’s” iconic festive atmosphere. 

The mice battle scene was one of the standout dances of the show. The Jetés incorporated some more modern choreography which made the dance unique and fun. They even featured a Pugsley Pizza box to give the number a Fordham flair. Obillo said: “A lot of us were dancing as mice, and we were supposed to be funny so when the audience started laughing, we got more into our roles, and it was overall a really fun experience. The laughs and applause are really nice to hear, and it helps keep the energy up on stage.”

The first act closed with a stunning performance of the Waltz of the Snowflakes. The dancers wore beautiful white costumes and threw snow in the air as they moved in sync across the stage, creating elaborate patterns. The Snow Queen, played by Taylor Davis, GSB ’22, was excellent, and she danced with grace throughout the long and challenging number. 

After an intermission, Clara (played by Dani Fuertes, FCRH ’24, on Saturday and Ava Edmonds, FCRH ’23, on Sunday) and the nutcracker (played by Peter Wolff, FCRH ’23) returned to the stage for a pas de deuxs (partner dance) as they entered the Land of Sweets. 

The show is completely choreographed by the members of the Jetés, which gives them a lot of freedom to add or abridge the traditional ballet, giving it a more exciting and interesting feel. Obillo explained that they have a lot more dancers this year, so they were able to choreograph and perform more pieces for the Land of Sweets. 

Each number in the dream sequence had a lead accompanied by several other dancers. Every single one of the numbers was excellently choreographed and executed. The spins were strong and tight, the movements were elegant and graceful and the choreography was well implemented.

The show concluded with solo and partner dances by the Sugar Plum Fairy (played by Izzy Gaenzle, FCRH ’25, on Saturday and Lily Hoke, FCLC ’23, on Sunday) and the Cavalier (played by Noel Bernard, FCRH ’24). All the dancers moved with strength, poise and grace. The lifts were incredibly impressive, and their talent was palpable. 

Due to Fordham’s mask mandate, the dancers had to wear masks throughout the show, adding another layer of difficulty to an already challenging athletic and artistic feat. Obillo said: “I’m not going to lie, it’s not fun … Thankfully, we are able to order masks from a company that caters to ballet dancers. They are really lightweight while still very protective. If you were at our performance last weekend, I’m sure you could see some of our dancers breathing really hard with the masks on.”

It was evident many hours of work went into putting on this incredible show. Obillo said the club practices for at least 13 hours a week in addition to the time it took to choreograph and prepare other aspects of the show. She added: “I just want to say I couldn’t be prouder of all the dancers and choreographers and my fellow e-board members this past semester. This year especially has been hard for us as a club because it’s the first year back to being fully in person, and one of the first years with so many more people who joined.”

While the club faced several challenges (like increasing in size, managing the mask mandate and returning to in-person practices and performances), the Jetés were able to put on an incredible show. The Jetés’ “The Nutcracker” was a great example of the sheer talent within the Fordham community. Obillo said: “This past show was definitely our best one yet, and I’m beyond grateful to have been a part of it. I feel like, from the beginning, the Jetés has given me a community at Fordham that has always been so supportive and loving. Being a part of the Jetés since freshman year, I’ve loved seeing the club grow from like 15 girls to more than 30 members.”