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Posts Tagged ‘The Nutcracker’

Ballet San Jose Gala Supports Live Music in the Theater and the Classroom

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Ballet San Jose’s inaugural gala heralds the return of live music to Ballet SJ’s orchestra pit, as Symphony Silicon Valley takes its place as resident orchestra for this performance, and the entire season to follow, under the baton of recently appointed Ballet SJ music director and conductor George Daugherty.

Proceeds of the one-night-only program will support the inclusion of live musical accompaniment for Ballet SJ’s annual performances of The Nutcracker and repertory season, along with the ballet’s Music and Motion program that provides introductory ballet classes to live musical accompaniment in underserved elementary schools in Santa Clara County.

Performances will feature the entire Ballet SJ company, along with acclaimed international concert violinist Rachel Lee; renowned soprano Kristin Clayton, a star of both San Francisco Opera and Teatro ZinZanni; and the Golden Gate Boys Choir Master Singers. Approximately 100 students from Ballet SJ School’s pre-professional division will perform the “Polonaise” from Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, staged by school principal Dalia Rawson.

The event is set for November 3 with a cocktail reception and dinner (designed by executive chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse) at 5pm, and the ballet performance following at 8pm, at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard (corner of Park Avenue) in downtown San Jose. A post-performance party with live music and dancing will conclude the evening.

Tickets for the ballet performance only are $45 to $125. Tickets for the entire evening are $1,000 per person ($800 of which is tax deductible). A very limited number of post-performance party tickets are available at $125 to subscribers and $175 to non-subscribers.

To purchase, contact Erica Dessenberger, Ballet San Jose Development Office, 408.288.2820 x 213 or www.balletsj.org.

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Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker Sparkles in New Blu-ray Version

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A high-definition, Blu-ray version of 1977’s The Nutcracker starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland will be released September 25 from Kultur International Films.

This version has been remastered from the original master tape (analogue 525 lines). After digitizing into high-definition format (1080 lines), video restoration was undertaken to maximize the picture quality to the best image possible that can be derived from a videotape shot with a technology more than 35 years old. The genuine LPCM audio track was created using all of the soundtracks on the original performance master tape.

The Nutcracker features Baryshnikov and Kirkland, both showcased at the peak of their careers, with members of the American Ballet Theatre, in the magical story of a small girl’s dream on Christmas Eve.

The Blu-ray runs 78 minutes and will retail for $29.99 at www.kultur.com.

Got news? Email Karen@rheegold.com and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 

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A Nutcracker With Legs

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Methods and magic yield a 30-year tradition

By Jennifer Kaplan

Ballet teacher Sharon Long came late to The Nutcracker. She went through childhood without dreams of Clara or visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy, an icily beautiful Snow Queen, and waltzing flowers. It wasn’t until she was an adult, in fact, running her own dance studio, that she saw the ubiquitous December ballet. But now she is marking her 30th year producing the ballet that she saw for the first time with her students, on a field trip to Jackson, Mississippi, where the group took in a professional production.

The Nutcracker’s annual budget of $80,000 is covered through ticket sales, contributions, and federal, state, and local arts council funding. (Photos by Nathan Duncan)

“I’ve been teaching since 1976,” says the Tupelo, Mississippi, native, who took over for her own teacher (the only one in town in the 1950s), Mary Alice McAlister, when it became time for her to slow down. Long opened her own studio, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts, in 1976 and formed a youth company in 1982. “And we’re going strong still,” she says. “I’m really proud of the company.”

Tupelo Ballet is composed of Long’s best students, ranging in age from about 12 to 18. Auditions are open to anyone, but all company members have to take one technique class a week at Tupelo Academy since it’s the official school of the company. The dancers perform three times a year in Tupelo, and their flagship event is The Nutcracker.

With about 35,000 residents, Tupelo has a small-town character and yet attracts rural residents with its strong community-based arts programming, which in addition to the ballet includes a professional symphony orchestra, the Lyric Theater, and museums. Located in northern Mississippi, the city is midway between Memphis, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama. Among its claims to fame, it is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, who is celebrated with an annual festival each June and remembered with a museum.

In Tupelo, Long doesn’t have to worry about competing with other ballet companies or other Nutcrackers. There aren’t any nearby. The closest are Ballet Memphis, Alabama Ballet in Birmingham, and a civic ballet company, Ballet Mississippi, in Jackson, the state capital, more than three hours away. Long’s Nutcracker is a sellout that “gets better and better,” she says. “Repetition and knowledge of the ballet, artistically and technically, help production logistics run smoothly, and volunteers are comfortable with the schedules and routines. And since we have a history, marketing and promotion are easier.” Audiences, she adds, come back year after year.

With an annual budget of about $80,000, the nonprofit ballet serves the greater Tupelo community through free, full-length daytime shows that introduce The Nutcracker to youngsters from rural areas who may never have set foot in a theater before. Long estimates that ticket and subscription sales for the production, which always takes place the first weekend in December (she reserves the space a year in advance), account for 50 percent of the ballet company’s income. (Season tickets for Nutcracker and the spring performance are $50 and include one parent ticket.) And with only two performances in the 1,000-seat Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center, the show sells out.

As a nonprofit, the company is eligible to apply for federal, state, and local arts council funding and solicit tax-deductible contributions from corporate sponsors and individuals. Those funds help cover the cost of paying a tech director and the Tupelo Symphony’s union wages and renting lights. Long and her business manager handle the grant applications.

The company owns its Nutcracker sets and costumes (the cost, 30 years ago, was roughly $6,000) and stores them on site at the ballet academy. Long is still using the original Snow scene drop, but the others have been redesigned. If funding permits, Long plans to replace the drops this year to celebrate the production’s 30th anniversary. For other productions, such as the Don Quixote the company did last spring, Long rents sets.

Tupelo Ballet is a separate entity from Long’s for-profit Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts, which has 250 students from preschoolers to adults. Her three-studio building is bursting at the seams, she reports, and she has seven part-time teachers working for her, teaching creative movement and combo classes for the little ones and jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, musical theater, tap, contemporary, ballet, pointe, and partnering for older students.

Building a full-length Nutcracker into a successful 30-year tradition takes patience, gumption, and organization, says Long.

Long teaches the advanced ballet classes and often hires guest artists to teach master classes; the most notable include Richard Englund, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Jill Murphy, and Anne Avery. “There are not many schools or companies these days that teach just one method,” Long says. “The students ought to be able to go into any class and know a little bit about it. That’s why I use guest teachers.”

For The Nutcracker, each year Long hires a pair of guest artists from regional or national companies (such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet West, and the former Dallas and Mississippi Ballets) to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. This, she says, provides her students with an example of the professionalism that a ballet career demands. “Most of the professionals love it when they can guest during Nutcracker season,” Long says. “It gives them extra money, so it’s a win–win situation for all of us.” Each guest artist is paid up to $2,500, and food and lodging are provided.

Although Long doesn’t cast exclusively from her studio (open auditions are held each September), the majority of dancers, from the smallest party girls and mice to all the dancers in the second-act variations, are from her ballet academy. Company members get first shot at soloist roles.

Building a full-length Nutcracker into a successful 30-year tradition takes patience, gumption, and organization, says Long. “Ballet League [the parent/community volunteer arm of the organization] helps with fund-raising efforts, which include bake sales at performances, balls, local corporate opportunities such as Kroger card promotions, Nutcracker teas, T-shirt sales, and other events,” she says. The company uses its website and Tupelo Ballet Facebook page to announce special events, rehearsal schedules, and other performance logistics. The software the school uses allows Long to contact company members and parents for special announcements, such as the post-Nutcracker party for former company dancers Long gave last year.

Long says she couldn’t do her Nutcracker without a generous cadre of parent volunteers who alter costumes, solicit donations and corporate sponsorships, monitor youngsters backstage, and take tickets in the theater. Her first year, back in 1982, she collaborated with the now-defunct Dallas Ballet. Eventually, Long says, “I realized I could do this on my own.” So slowly she built up the production, adding sets and costumes, adjusting the choreography (all her own work) to fit each new crop of dancers and, just 15 years ago, bringing in live music in collaboration with the Tupelo Symphony.

“I’ve had this conversation with several other professionals,” she says, “and it would be very difficult to do what I do—putting on these full-length productions—without a community and a school to promote it. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have the academy because from there you draw the audiences, you draw the parents, you draw the community, you draw the business world.”

With a cast of more than 100 children and teens, Long spends Sundays from September through December in the studio rehearsing. She’s had to make some concessions “because we’re in a very big college football area, and they’re not going to miss football games for Nutcracker rehearsals,” she says. “We can’t do Saturdays at all.” She notes that all the dancers in the Act 2 variations are advanced enough to perform on pointe and adds that the dancing is far beyond that of most children’s companies.

Long herself dances in The Nutcracker each year, relishing her role as Mrs. Stahlbaum, Clara’s mother. Onstage, she’s part actress, part mother hen, and part traffic cop. And she has watched her two daughters and two of her five grandchildren perform in the ballet, although she is quick to point out that when her own family is involved, she gets someone else to adjudicate the audition panel.

For a ballet teacher who never saw a Nutcracker as a child, Long has worked wonders, introducing this family-friendly Christmastime ballet to thousands of children over the years. They sit awestruck by the magic of it all—the conjuring of Drosselmeyer, the growing Christmas tree, the glamour and grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Clara, the girl on the cusp of womanhood who dreams this ever-so-sweet tale.

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Cast of More Than 60 Shine in Peridance’s Contemporary ‘Nutcracker’

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Peridance Capezio Center’s contemporary The Nutcracker, choreographed by artistic director Igal Perry, will feature a cast of more than 60 students, pre-professionals, and professional dancers.

Peridance Capezio Center’s The Nutcracker (Photo by Meems Images)

In this contemporary take on the classic tale, Perry weaves together hip-hop, modern, and ballet to a musical accompaniment including excerpts from the original Tchaikovsky score as well as new music.

Principal dancers include Nikki Holck, former member of the National Ballet of Canada; Kyle Coffman, formerly with Joffrey Ensemble, Buglisi Dance Theatre, and “Arab” in the recent Broadway revival of West Side Story; and Shay Bares, who has danced with Stephen Petronio Company.

They will share the stage with a cast that includes young students from The School at Peridance, pre-professionals from the Certificate Program and the International Student Programs, and professional dancers from the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company.

Performances are set for December 17 at 6:30 and 8:30pm (followed by a reception), and December 18 at 2:30 and 5:30pm, at the Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, 126 East 13th Street (between Third and Fourth Avenues), New York City. Tickets are $30, $20 for students, or $15 for children 12 and under. For reservations, visit www.peridance.com.

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No Ballet in My ‘Nutcracker,’ Says Adam Shankman

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Don’t look for classical ballet in director Adam Shankman’s new feature film version of The Nutcracker.

It’s not that Shankman is new to dance. He started his career as a dancer, then became a choreographer before directing high-profile movie musicals like Hairspray. Plus, he’s been a regular presence as a judge on Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance.

But there will be no pointe shoes in his Nutcracker, Shankman told Entertainment Weekly. “There are some celebrations in the story and there could be dancing at the celebrations,” he told EW, “but other than that, no. It is absolutely not going to be a full-on ballet. No ballet.”

Instead, he said the film will draw from the E.T.A. Hoffmann story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, that inspired the Tchaikovsky ballet. “It hasn’t been told in the same vein as these new action-adventure fairy tale films, and yet it is definitely an action-adventure story,” said Shankman. “I didn’t want to do it if it wasn’t that concept … and we are going back to the original story too, because the ballet actually was a bit of a departure. So I am going back to the darker, more action/adventure version. More like Snow White and the Huntsmen, [the Johnny Depp] Alice in Wonderland. It is in that vein.”

Besides, Shankman said, “I couldn’t touch it as a musical or as a dance piece because it’s been done too much and too well.”

For more, visit http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/12/05/adam-shankman-no-ballet-the-nutcracker/.

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Take a Step Back in Time with SFB’s Online ‘Nutcracker’ Guide

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The San Francisco Ballet—the first professional ballet company in America and the first in the country to perform The Nutcracker—has created an online “scrapbook” filled with vintage photographs and dancers’ fond memories of famous city spots that figure prominently in the ballet’s production.

Nutcracker Guide to Our City takes a virtual tour of five historic locations: Alamo Square, the inspiration for the ballet’s opening street scene; the Conservatory of Flowers, which flavors Act 2’s “Waltz of the Flowers”; Chinatown; the Palace of Fine Arts, and the War Memorial Opera House, where SFB premiered the now-classic holiday production in 1944.

SFB dancers’ personal reminiscences are interspersed with clips from the production. Local historians and architecture experts also weigh in with interesting facts, and vintage photographs show San Francisco as it appeared in the early 1900s—the time period in which the current production is set.

SF Ballet social media fans can also uncover special discounts and deals for some of the locations featured in the magazine, as well as the chance to win free tickets to SF Ballet’s Nutcracker.

SFB will perform artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House, December 9 to 27. For more information, visit www.sfballet.org/nutcracker. Nutcracker Guide to Our City can be accessed online by visiting www.sfballet.org/cityguide.

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Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory Presents Full-Length ‘Nutcracker’

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Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory Company will present its full-length production of The Nutcracker, with guest artists Alexandre Hammoudi of American Ballet Theatre and modern choreographer Margo Sappington as “Auntie” Drosselmeyer, December 3 at 5pm at Symphony Space, New York City.

Veronika Verterich (Photo by Siggul/Virtual Arts Masters)

Featured dancers include Veronika Verterich as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Maggie Horowitz as Clara, Ari Mayzick of Buglisi Dance Theatre as the Snow King, and Sarah Steele dancing Arabian. Partnering Verterich will be Hammoudi, who joined ABT in 2004 and has appeared as a guest artist with Angel Corella and Stars of American Ballet.

Along with her acting appearance, Sappington provided the choreography for Act I. Act II has traditional “after-Petipa” staging by Kozlova and Vasily Vainonen, formerly with the Kirov Ballet.

Conservatory director Kozlova was born in Moscow, where she studied at the Bolshoi school and later became a principal dancer with Bolshoi Ballet. In the early 1980s she joined New York City Ballet as principal, and in 2003, she founded her own school for primary through pre-professional students.

Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street). Tickets are $30 or $20 for children and seniors. For reservations, call 212.864.5400 or visit www.symphonyspace.org. More information on the conservatory can be found at www.vkdcny.com.

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Opening Weekend of PNB’s ‘Nutcracker’ Truly a Festive Affair

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Enchanting activities and seasonal fun await Pacific Northwest Ballet audiences arriving for the opening weekend of The Nutcracker.

Guests arriving early for any of the five opening weekend performances in Seattle, Washington, will enjoy the splendor of McCaw Hall decked out in full Nutcracker regalia. Patrons can take a photo in front of the 20-foot tree, enjoy a magic show, be serenaded by roaming carolers, collect Nutcracker souvenir buttons, create a craft, or take a mini-dance class. After the performance, guests will receive a Candy Cane Roca Buttercrunch Toffee treat, courtesy of Brown & Haley.

PNB’s Nutcracker, with choreography by Ken Stowell and scenic and costume design by children’s author Maurice Sendak (of Where the Wild Things Are fame), premiered December 13, 1983.

Drawing on E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Stowell and Sendak delved deeply into the original story and infused the ballet with a drama and strength that fully complement Tchaikovsky’s classic score. The following year saw the publication of Nutcracker, a new edition of the original Hoffman story with illustrations by Sendak that remained on The New York Times’ best-seller list for eight weeks.

In 1986 a feature-length film of the Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker was released nationwide. In addition to annual Seattle performances, PNB has performed Nutcracker in Vancouver, Portland, and Minneapolis.

This year’s edition will be presented in 36 performances November 25 to December 27 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB box office at 206.441.2424, online at www.PNB.org, or in person at the PNB box office at 301 Mercer Street. Limited tickets are also available thru Ticketmaster, 800.745.3000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. No other ticket outlets are authorized to sell PNB Nutcracker tickets. For details, visit http://www.pnb.org/Season/11-12/Nutcracker/.

PNB dancers in The Nutcracker (Photo by Angela Sterling)

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Petersen’s Touch Adds to the Magic of Nutmeg Conservatory’s ‘Nutcracker’

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Nutmeg Conservatory students’ Nutcracker performances will shine a bit brighter this year, after receiving special coaching from Kirk Petersen, recent associate artistic director of Canada’s Alberta Ballet.

In November, Petersen spent two weeks working with students at the conservatory in Torrington, Connecticut. Founded in 1969 by Sharon E. Dante, the Nutmeg Conservatory remains committed to her vision of providing professional-level ballet training to aspiring young dance artists.

Nutmeg Conservatory (Photo courtesy Nutmeg Conservatory)

This December production of The Nutcracker features updates to setting and choreography, including new costumes for the “Waltz of the Flowers” scene. The Nutcracker is choreographed and staged by artistic director Victoria Mazzarelli, ballet master Tim Melady, and conservatory principal Ronald Alexander, along with other Nutmeg staff.

Performances are set for December 10 at 2 and 7pm and December 11 at 2pm at the Warner Theatre. For tickets call the Warner Theatre box office at 860.489.7180.

Additional performances at the Bushnell in Hartford will take place December 17 and 18 at noon and 3:30pm. For tickets call the Bushnell at 860.987.5900. Use the code word “Clara” to receive $2 off each ticket. For details, visit http://www.nutmegconservatory.org/nutcracker/index.html

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By George—The Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker Celebrates 50 Years

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The Washington Ballet (TWB) celebrates 50 years of bringing The Nutcracker to Washington-area audiences in the eighth presentation of Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker, December 1 through 24 at the Warner Theatre.

Previews will be held at THEARC Theater in Southeast D.C. November 25 to 27.

This one-of-a-kind Nutcracker, set in 1882 Georgetown, stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the villainous Rat King, Anacostia Indians, frontiersmen, and many other all-American delights. Tchaikovsky’s score will be performed live by the Washington Ballet Nutcracker Orchestra. Scenic design is by Peter Horne, with costumes by Judanna Lynn and lighting by Tony Tucci.

The Washington Ballet (Photo by Stephen Baranovics)

The 50th anniversary Nutcracker features TWB’s company and studio company artists alongside 400 students from three TWB school campuses in Northwest and Southeast Washington and Alexandria, Virginia.

Tickets for the Warner Theatre Nutcracker, priced from $31 to $90, can be purchased at www.washingtonballet.org, by calling 202.397.7328, or at the Warner Theatre box office. Ticket prices include a $2 Warner Theatre preservation fee. Tickets for The Nutcracker at THEARC, priced at $29, are available at www.washingtonballet.org or 202.362.3606 x605.

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Texas Studio Prepares for Annual Production of ‘The Nutcracker’

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Kennedy Dance Theatre of Webster, Texas, will present its annual production of The Nutcracker on December 17 at 2 and 8pm and December 18 at 7pm at the University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Bayou Theatre.

Kennedy Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy KDT)

Choreographed by Kennedy Dance Theatre ballet mistress Milena Leben, this year’s production will feature performances by Ballet Jeté, KDT’s pre-professional company. This year’s Jeté company members are Sarah Blackshear, Lilly Boily, Erica Carmona, Cherilene Guzman, Michelle McKay, Nicolette Mojica, Sarah Neisler, Caroline Senter, and Madeleine Tao.

Kennedy Dance Theatre opened as a performing arts studio in 1973 in Pasadena, Texas, and now teaches ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hop-hop, musical theater, and more to more than 700 students.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.kennedydance.com or 281.480.8441.

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Choreography by Iraq Veteran Gives ‘Nutcracker’ a Military Flair

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Ballet Theatre Company of West Hartford, Connecticut, returns to St. Joseph College this December for six performances of The Nutcracker, featuring a cast of 60-plus performers and choreography by Roman Baca, a former U.S. Marine who served in combat in Fallujah, Iraq.

 Baca, a graduate of the Nutmeg Conservatory and dancer with the Nutmeg Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, and the New Mexico Ballet, will also portray “Colonel” Drosselmeyer. The Sugar Plum Fairy will be portrayed by Lisa Fitzgerald of Exit 12 Dance Company (formerly of Nutmeg Ballet and Connecticut Ballet), partnered by Andrew Notarile of American Repertory Ballet and BalletMet as her Cavalier.

 Baca is director of Exit 12 Dance Company, which recently appeared at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York Harbor. His version of the ballet retells the tale—Drosselmeyer makes a Nutcracker Soldier for his nephew, Alexsander, who is leaving for war. The Nutcracker will come to life and take Alexsander’s place in battle if he can win the love of a young girl.

 Marine Toys for Tots collection boxes will be placed at all performances, and Care packages will be sent to Marines through the Marine Corps Family Foundation. Through the Ballet Theatre Company’s outreach program, now in its ninth year, more than 600 underserved and disabled local children from more than 30 area organizations in the Greater Hartford area will be guests at The Nutcracker.

 Performances are set for December 15 at 6:30pm, December 16 at 7:30pm, and December 17 and 18 at 1 and 4:30pm at Hoffman Auditorium, St. Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut. Tickets are $20 to $30. For reservations, call 860.570.0440. Visit www.exit12danceco.com or www.dancebtc.org for details.

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Boston Ballet Stars Imported for New Haven Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’

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New Haven [CT] Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker at the Shubert Theater will feature all new choreography by artistic director Jared Redick and performances by guest artists Kathleen Breen Combes and Yury Yanowksy of Boston Ballet.

Performances are set for December 16 at 7pm, December 17 at 1 and 5:30pm, and December 18 at 1pm. More than 200 students of New Haven Ballet will participate.

New Haven Ballet, founded in 1985 as an outgrowth of the Connecticut Ballet, provides dance instruction for serious and recreational students. With studios in New Haven and Guilford, the school plays a vital role in the community through outreach and school programs, a student performance ensemble, and collaborations with artists within the community and beyond.

Tickets range from $18 to $53 and can be purchased at the Shubert Box Office (247 College Street, New Haven), by calling 203.562.5666, or at http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?orgid=1598.

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International Slate of Dancers Shines in Florida ‘Nutcracker’

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Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will present the holiday classic The Nutcracker in three venues this December: the Gusman Theater, the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, and The Parker Playhouse of Fort Lauderdale.

Performers include professional division members Jun Tanabe, Kaori Fukui, and Kohhei Kuwana from Japan; Breeana Flannery from Australia; Lillian Hill of Fort Lauderdale; Liza Maltseva and Olga Mekhonoshina from Russia; Yhosvany Rodriguez and Claudia Hernandez from Cuba; Kelvin Rabines from Peru; Lusian Hernandez from Venezuela; and Claresta Alim from Indonesia.

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (Photo by Joey G Photography)

The production, with choreography by Vladimir Issaev, will be performed at the Gusman Performing Arts Center December 3, the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center from December 9 to 11, and at the Parker Playhouse of Fort Lauderdale December 17 and 18.

For tickets and information: www.artsballettheatre.org or call 305-948-4777.

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Boston Ballet Offers ‘Nutcracker’ at Deep Discount for Groups

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Groups of 10 or more can save up to 50 percent off tickets to Boston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, running November 25 to 31 at Boston’s Opera House, 55 Washington Street.

Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

Bookings made before November 18 can also save an additional 10 percent. Groups sit together, and can save on tickets for all performances. This is the last chance to see this version of the popular holiday ballet—after this season, The Nutcracker sets and costumes that have been a part of the production for 20 years will be retired to make way for a new production.

To purchase, call the Boston Ballet box office at 617.456.6343 or visit 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm. Details and tickets are also available online at http://boxoffice.bostonballet.org/storefront/c2012NUTCRACKER-p0.html

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NYCB’s ‘Nutcracker’ Coming to a Movie Screen Near You

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New York City Ballet’s December 13 performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will be transmitted live in high definition to more than 500 movie theaters around the country, the company told The New York Times this week.

The Metropolitan Opera pioneered live cinema broadcasts of cultural events five years ago and has built a worldwide audience of several hundred thousand for each transmission. Other opera, ballet, and theater companies—such as the Paris Opera and Bolshoi ballets—have followed suit, hoping to enlarge audiences, build revenues, and help grow their art forms’ popularity.

The NYCB transmission will be made through the NCM Fathom theater network and will be produced by Live From Lincoln Center. NYCB executive director Katherine E. Brown said the company hoped it would be the “first of many” such transmissions, the newspaper reported.

To read the full story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/new-york-city-ballets-nutcracker-coming-to-movie-theaters/.

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Familiar ‘Nutcracker’ Tale Gets Turned Upside Down in ‘Ratcracker’

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Everyone knows the tale of The Nutcracker, but what would happen if the infamous rats actually won the battle against the Prince? That’s the premise of the Frequent Flyers Production of Ratcracker, a holiday show that “turns The Nutcracker on its head” and leaves it “hanging by its tail.”

Rats! (Photo courtesy Frequent Flyers Productions)

Frequent Flyers Productions Inc. will present Ratcracker on December 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 7pm, and December 11 and 18 at 2pm, at The Dairy Center for the Arts Performance Space, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado.

All tickets are reserved seating at $25, with a discount for purchases of four or more.

Tickets are available at The Dairy’s Community Box Office, by calling 303.444.7328, or online at http://thedairy.frontgatetickets.com/choose.php?lid=61074.

Patrons can also attend a special sneak peek in-studio rehearsal, including a Q & A session with the cast, on November 27 from 5:30 to 6:30pm. All ages are welcome. Donation $10. To make a reservation, call 303.245.8272.

For more information, visit www.frequentflyers.org.

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ABT ‘Nutcracker’ Production Illustrated through Online Storybook

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Fans eagerly awaiting the return of Nutcracker season can whet their appetites with a sneak peek behind the scenes of American Ballet Theatre’s production through a special online storybook.

The online storybook tells the tale of The Nutcracker ballet, illustrated by photos of the ABT production. There are pages of information on choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and other members of the creative staff, videos of dress rehearsals, and online games. Several ABT dancers share their special recipes for holiday fare such as pumpkin upside-down cake and sugar cookies, and sharp-eyed fans can try to guess which ABT company member is pictured in photos from Nutcrackers long ago.

To view the online book, visit http://www.abt.org/nutcracker/index.html. ABT will be presenting The Nutcracker December 14 to 31 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, New York. For tickets, call 718.636.4100 or visit www.abt.org or www.bam.org.

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Goh Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ Welcomes Guest Artists from ABT

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The Goh Ballet Academy’s 2011 edition of The Nutcracker, featuring principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre and a live orchestra, promises to be one of the biggest productions in the company’s history, says the academy, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Nutcracker will be presented at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on December 15 through 19 at 7:30pm and December 17 and 18 at 2pm. The Vancouver Opera Orchestra, directed by Leslie Dala, will play Tchaikovsky’s score.

Choreography is by Anna-Marie Holmes, with set and costume design by Dinghao Zhang and Ming Li and lighting design by Pierre Lavoie.

The Goh Ballet was founded by Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh and is directed by Chan Hon Goh, former prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada. The academy introduces new interpretations of classic full-length productions, nurtures and cultivates award-winning dancers, and commissions new works by leading choreographers.

Tickets start at $28 and are available at www.Ticketmaster.ca or 1.877.985.2728. Visit the Nutcracker website at www.gohnutcracker.com.

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Washington Philanthropist Gives Gift of Music to TWB’s ‘Nutcracker’

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Adrienne Arsht, philanthropist and business leader, has made a $250,000 gift that will allow  The Washington Ballet to provide live orchestral performances for the company’s 50th anniversary performances of The Nutcracker.

“The Washington Ballet and the ballet community have been blessed by the generosity of an extraordinary national cultural leader,” said board of director chair Sylvia A. de Leon. “For Adrienne Arsht to express this level of support for the ballet demonstrates her long-standing admiration for The Washington Ballet, her commitment to the Washington community and, most importantly, her strong desire to inspire children.”

In the announcement, Arsht said her history with The Washington Ballet began when she came to DC in 1979 and got to know company founder Mary Day. “I have great artistic respect for the company, am enthralled by Septime Webre’s Nutcracker, and want to ensure that young children having the experience of performing on stage or attending a performance of The Nutcracker will be inspired by the live music of an orchestra,” said Arsht.

The Nutcracker features The Washington Ballet company and studio dancers, plus 400 students from all three The Washington School of Ballet campuses, and runs for 30 performances December 1 to 24 at the Warner Theatre. For more information, visit www.washingtonballet.org.

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New Jersey Ballet Searches for Mother Ginger’s Dancing Darlings

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New Jersey Ballet will hold an audition October 17 to fill the roles of Mother Ginger’s clown children in the company’s annual production of The Nutcracker, says BroadwayWorld.com.

Auditions will be held at 4:30pm on the stage at bergenPAC, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, NJ. Children must be between the ages of 7 and 13 and have at least two years of ballet and/or gymnastics training. Children selected will perform with the professional cast during performances on December 3 at 4:30pm, and December 4 at 1 and 4:30pm.

Children must be available to rehearse on the six Sundays starting October 23 through November 27 from 12:30 to 3:00pm. Additional rehearsals may be scheduled immediately prior to performance dates. Interested children or their parents are urged to register for the audition by calling New Jersey Ballet, 973.597.9600.

To see the full story, visit http://nj.broadwayworld.com/article/NJ-Ballet-to-Hold-Nutcracker-Auditions-1017-20111006. For more information on New Jersey Ballet, visit www.njballet.org.

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Tickets On Sale for ABT’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at BAM

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American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker will return to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York, for 22 performances December 14 to 31.

The Nutcracker features choreography by ABT artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky, scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson, and lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

The opening night cast will be led by Veronika Part as Clara/the Princess and Marcelo Gomes as the Nutcracker/Prince and will feature an opening night celebration at the BAM LePercq Space. Tickets begin at $250. For more information, call the Special Events Office at 212.477.3030, ext. 3245.

Tickets for all other performances begin at $25 and are available at the BAM box office in the Peter Jay Sharp Building at 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, by phone at 718.636.4100, or online at www.bam.org. For more information, visit ABT’s website at www.abt.org.

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Children Needed for Contemporary Version of ‘The Nutcracker’

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Peridance Capezio Center in New York City will hold a children’s audition for Igal Perry’s The Nuctracker: A Contemporary Look on September 25 from 1 to 3pm.

Roles to be cast include party scene dancers, mice, and soldiers. The audition is open to children ages 8 to 12, and no ballet training is required. All rehearsals and performances will take place at Peridance Capezio Center, 126 East 13th Street. All performers cast must commit to the full rehearsal and performance schedule.

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This version of The Nutcracker weaves hip-hop, modern, and ballet together and is set to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s original score as well as new music for a new take on the classic ballet. The performance showcases a cast of more than 60 dancers, including young students from The School at Peridance, pre-professionals from the Certificate Program and the International Student Programs, and professional dancers from the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company.

Performances are set for December 17 at 8:30pm, followed by a reception, and December 18 at 2 and 7:30pm. To register for the children’s audition, please contact Shelley Grantham at shelley@peridance.com. More details can be found at http://www.peridance.com/Nutcracker.cfm.

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Melrose Youth Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ Auditions Open to Public

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The Melrose Youth Ballet will hold open auditions for its 16th annual production of The Nutcracker on September 18 at Corinthian Hall, 523 Franklin Street, Melrose, Massachusetts. 

The Nutcracker will be performed December 2 to 4 at Memorial Hall in Melrose. All ballet dancers who audition will be cast in the production. The audition schedule is: ages 7 to 8, 1 to 2pm; ages 9 to 11, 2 to 3:15pm; ages 12 and up (no pointe work), 3:15 to 4:30pm; ages 13 to 15 (pointe work included in audition), 4:45 to 6:15pm; and ages 16 to 18 (pointe work included in audition), 6:15 to 8pm.

Audition dress code is black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet slippers and/or pointe shoes with hair in a bun for girls; black dance tights, shorts, or pants, white leotard, tank or T-shirt, and black ballet slippers for boys.

An audition fee of $25 is due at time of registration. If interested, email melroseyouthballet@gmail.com in advance for audition details. Anyone unable to attend auditions should contact MYB directly at 781.665.4MYB (4692) for information on a makeup audition.

MYB is a non-profit organization that serves the surrounding communities with special school and senior citizen performances each year, as well as four other performances open to the public. One hundred to 150 dancers from surrounding communities enrolled in various dance schools participate each year. For details, visit www.melroseyouthballet.org.

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Tales of Fairies and Fun Presented in Arts Ballet Theatre Season

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Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will open its season in October with the return of Harlequinade (2010), celebrate the holidays with The Nutcracker, enchant children with Fairy Doll, and wrap the season up with a Spring Gala.

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (Photo by JoeyG Photography)

Harlequinade will share the program with new works by a guest choreographer and a new piece by Arts Ballet’s artistic director, Vladimir Issaev, in celebration of the artist Gustav Klimt’s work on the year of his 150th birthday. This performance will take place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center.

The Nutcracker will be put on in December at the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center, the Aventura Center, and the Parker Playhouse of Fort Lauderdale. Fairy Doll, the latest entry in the Family Series, will be held in March at the Aventura Center and Broward Center.

For the close of the season, Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will put on the Spring Gala, a showcase for company dancers, to run once in Broward and once in Miami Dade during the month of May.

In addition to these main productions, Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will perform at the Willow Theater in Boca Raton and the Civic Center in Sunrise, and will also appear in various schools in Broward and Miami-Dade counties through its ballet education outreach program.

For more information, visit www.artsballettheatre.org or call 305.948 4777.

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Roxey Ballet Seeks Dancers Ages 4 to 18 for ‘Nutcracker’

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New Jersey’s Roxey Ballet will hold open auditions September 10 for dancers ages 4 to 18 for the company’s holiday production of The Nutcracker.

Roxey Ballet is a contemporary ballet company with an extensive New Jersey season and schedule of local, national, and international touring. The company was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1995.

Auditions will be held at Canal Studios, 243 North Union Street, Lambertville, New Jersey. There is a $30 audition fee. Dancers should arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the audition and wear classical ballet attire.

Audition times are:

  • Ages 4 to 6, noon to 12:30pm
  • Ages 7 to 10, 12:30 to 1pm
  • Ages 11 to 13, 1 to 1:30pm
  • Ages 14 to 18, 1:30 to 2pm

The anniversary production of The Nutcracker opens Thanksgiving weekend at The College of New Jersey’s Kendal Hall. For more information and to pre-pay for the audition, visit http://www.roxeyballet.org/Roxey_Ballet/Welcome.html.

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Maple Conservatory ‘Nutcracker’ Auditions Set for August 27

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The Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, California, will hold open auditions on August 27 for its fifth production of The Nutcracker. Auditions are open to the entire community.

The Nutcracker will be performed December 17 to 21 at the Northwood Performing Arts Theatre in Irvine.

Auditions are set for 2 to 4pm for ages 7 to 12, and 4 to 6:30pm for ages 13 to adult. There is no audition fee. Male and female dancers should wear standard ballet attire (dancers trained en pointe should bring pointe shoes).

Maple Youth Ballet junior and senior company members do not need to attend this open audition. Auditions will be held at the Maple Conservatory of Dance, 1824 Kaiser Avenue, Irvine. For more information, call 949.660.9930, visit http://mapleconservatory.com, or email questions to info@mapleconservatory.com.

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Maple Youth Ballet to Offer ‘Coppélia,’ ‘Nutcracker’

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Maple Youth Ballet, a pre-professional company based at Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, California, will stage Coppélia and The Nutcracker in its 2011-2012 season.

Maple Conservatory of Dance

The Nutcracker will be performed for its fifth year December 17 to 21 at the Norwood Performing Arts Theatre in Irvine. Coppélia will be offered April 14 and 15, 2012, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Both will be choreographed by Charles Maple, the conservatory’s director.

Also, the conservatory will hold its annual Student Showcase in June 2012. For details, visit http://mapleconservatory.com.

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Buy Now to Avoid PNB’s Ticket Service Fees

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Ballet lovers can avoid service fees if they purchase single tickets to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2011-2012 season before the end of July.

Alexei Ratmansky’s “Don Quixote” (Photo courtesy Dutch National Ballet)

Those who wait until August 1 or later will pay an $8 fee per order for Nutcracker tickets, $6 for other season performances, and $3 for lectures (in addition to the face value of the ticket).

The Seattle-based company’s coming season includes Coppélia, the American premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote, and Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana (paired with George Balanchine’s Apollo).

To order tickets, call 206.441.2424 or visit www.pnb.org.

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Thinking Big in a Small Town

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Grass Valley’s community-wide Nutcracker

By Arisa White

Grass Valley, California—so named when a party of men searching for cattle in the late 1840s came upon a grass valley and settled there—is a historic place. In its more than 100 years of mining history, it produced $400 million in gold. With approximately 12,000 residents (and the largest Cornish population in the United States), Grass Valley was named one of California’s best places to live in 1998 in Time magazine’s “Hot Small Towns.”

Clara watches the Nutcracker and the Mouse King battle. (Photo by Adrian Schneider Photography)

But the town can make another claim to fame: every holiday season for the past 20 years, it has hosted a community-wide Nutcracker that has Center Stage Dance Studio, producer of the event, hyped up on sugar plums all year round.

The Grass Valley Nutcracker is in its third incarnation after being started in the early 1980s by a husband-and-wife team who owned a tiny, downtown dance studio and produced an in-studio show for 20 years. In 2003 the Center for the Arts took on the production; after a dark year in 2006, Santia Enos came on board, taking over the production and becoming managing director (she’s now the owner) of the newly nonprofit center, renamed Center Stage Dance Studio.

As produced by Center Stage (with locations in Grass Valley and Colfax), the ballet boasts large casts (125 dancers ages 4 to 64 years last year, some from other dance studios and performing groups, including high school dance programs). Enos, with artistic director Nick Katzman and co-producer Wendy Fritzinger, both Center Stage teachers, are committed to making The Grass Valley Nutcracker an ongoing event that families and children can look forward to.

Katzman, a native of Grass Valley who has danced in several Sacramento Ballet performances, says he “performed in this very same Nutcracker and enjoyed it so much that simply giving young dancers the chance to have a similar experience is all the motivation [I need] to be a primary part of this event.”

The show is held at the largest performance space in Grass Valley, the 500-seat Don Baggett Theatre at Nevada Union High School. Planning starts in January, when Enos and her team meet to recap how things went in December. February is spent cleaning and repairing costumes, and in March they brainstorm what they want to do differently. Auditions (divided by age groups) are held in August. In September and October choreography (new each year) is created and taught, and then rehearsals are held until the opening of the season in the first weeks of December.

The majority of the dancers are ages 4 to 8, and Fritzinger, who choreographs for them, says “it’s always rewarding to see their enthusiasm and progress.” And Heather Eccarius, choreographer for pointe pieces in 2003 and 2010, always finds inspiration in Tchaikovsky’s music. She says she “plays with movement until it works,” adapting choreography for mixed-level dancers to highlight their skills and keep them safe.

Marketing and advertising for the show start in September with letters sent to elementary school teachers about the performances for second-, third-, and fourth-graders. Online advertising begins in October, and in November posters are plastered around town and ads appear in local newspapers. Come December, cast members dress in party scene costumes and hand out postcards at Victorian Christmas and Cornish Christmas, two celebrations that recapture the spirit of Christmas past and attract thousands of revelers to downtown Grass Valley.

Traditionally there are four performances, but this year Center Stage plans to do six, opening the season with two mini-performances for second- through fourth-graders from local elementary schools. Enos says the goal is to “grow [their] audience and further cultivate an interest in the arts,” especially among young people. Last year about 2,100 people saw the show, which grossed $24,000.

A Nutcracker can be an annual rite of passage for many, and Enos says she wants to make this opportunity “accessible to all dancers, regardless of economic status.” The $80 participation fee, which includes costumes and three months of rehearsals, is kept nominal so as not to deter anyone from joining. With a budget of $13,000, Center Stage holds fund-raisers throughout the year to defray the cost of participating. Families with more than one child in the show usually pay the fee for only one; scholarships (primarily need based) cover the rest.

Even though Enos admits to “still fine-tuning” this process, she knows that goal-specific fund-raisers work. Two years ago, donations provided the $2,500 needed for costumes. Themed gatherings like a pizza night, a garden art party, and car washes have been equally successful. Additionally, profits from ticket sales go to the scholarship fund. Enos says that five percent of the cast is on scholarship and everyone volunteers.

 “We’ve been adding to the set each year and upgrading as we go. It’s hard to balance a visually dynamic set with portability. . . . Our budget is small for sets and costumes in order to reserve more money for scholarships.” —Santia Enos, Center Stage director

Performers’ families are encouraged to volunteer for four hours; options are sewing or altering costumes, set and prop design, marketing, rehearsal assistance, and working backstage.

The sets and costumes are an ongoing process. “We’ve been adding to the set each year and upgrading as we go,” says Enos. “It’s hard to balance a visually dynamic set with portability. We try to be as conservative with costumes as possible; some of them are the costumes from ’03. We upgrade one or two second-act pieces a year and add flourishes to existing costumes to make them appear fresh. Our budget is small for sets and costumes in order to reserve more money for scholarships.”

Karen O’Brien, whose daughter has participated in The Grass Valley Nutcracker for four years, volunteers as a seamstress. She says, “My daughter and other young people see what it means to work together for a common purpose, to look beyond one’s own preferences and abilities, and to cheer on other people as they strive for their highest potential. Everyone learns to chip in, step up to the plate, and do one’s share to help when needed.”

Starting with the audition process, the production team takes the time to meet everyone, making an effort not to focus on Center Stage students. To diminish any sense of favoritism, they assign numbers instead of referring to participants by name. In a small town, such simple gestures help to make non-dancers feel less self-conscious and dancers from other studios feel welcome.

Thirteen-year-old Nora Devlin, who takes classes at Sierra Dance Institute in Grass Valley, played a soldier, fairy, and flower in her first year and Little Clara in 2010. She says, “This is such a special production because it really feels like one big family. Everyone is respectful and gets to know each other.”

Nearly everyone who auditions gets in the show, although “we occasionally have to turn down kids who are just too young,” says Enos. “Our rule: if they’re climbing the walls during auditions, then they’ll never make it through the rehearsal process. As our popularity grows, however, we will have to tighten up. This year there will be a requirement of two years of ballet for anyone over age 9 and one year for anyone over 7.”

That inclusiveness and the rotation of lead roles each year help to minimize any sense of competition and allow participants to grow interpersonally. Older dancers help younger dancers with choreography and makeup; friendships are formed and the dancers grow professionally as well. “I learned about partner dancing, learned to dance while being an actress,” says Devlin. “It made me feel very professional because I had never danced in front of such a large audience before. I had two minutes to change costumes, which was a challenge.”

Community support and commitment for this Nutcracker don’t come solely in response to Center Stage’s marketing efforts. According to O’Brien, the community stands behind Enos, Fritzinger, and Katzman. “[They are] friendly, caring, and truly interested in the dancers and the shared intention to put on a lovely event,” says O’Brien. “They know that although achievement is important, it is the expression and joy of the art that adds to the beauty of life.

“In these times where things seem a bit uncertain and often very serious,” O’Brien continues, “these people give our community the opportunity to participate in that beauty.”

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$20 ‘Mystery Tickets’ for OBT’s ‘Nutcracker’

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Oregon Ballet Theatre is offering $20 “mystery tickets” to tonight’s performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. This marks the third year that the Portland-based company has made this offer for the ballet’s December 20 performance.

To get the tickets, visit www.obt.org/mystery, print out the ticket form there, and bring it with you to the box office at the Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street. The box office will begin redeeming forms—for cash only—at 5:30 p.m., two hours before the curtain goes up.

Patrons are limited to four “mystery tickets.” Seats will be chosen from the best available at the time, and the offer doesn’t cover tickets already purchased.

To learn more about the performance, visit http://www.obt.org/season_nutcracker.html. To buy tickets apart from this offer, call 503.2.BALLET or visit www.obt.org.

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International Ballet Brought To A Cinema Near You

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Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy Emerging Pictures)

Emerging Pictures presents Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker danced by two of the world’s leading ballet companies in cinemas across the country this month.

The Nutcracker will be broadcast live from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow on December 19 at 11:00 a.m. EST/8:00 a.m. PST. Also, running now until December 31 is a version of the holiday classic taped-live by The Royal Ballet in London.

Emerging Pictures is the largest all-digital specialty film and alternate content theater network in the United States. Emerging has a network of arts institutions, media arts centers, and independent art house theaters, tied together through digital technology, enabling them to exhibit art films, documentaries, foreign language films, independent cinema, and cultural programming.

The Emerging Cinemas Network currently consists of 85 venues and is rapidly growing. Its offerings include both Ballet In Cinema and Opera in Cinema.

To watch a trailer, visit Ballet In Cinema at www.emergingpictures.com/ballet-in-cinema/. To find a venue, visit www.emergingpictures.com/ballet-in-cinema/theaters/.

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EditorSpeak

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By Cheryl Ossola and Karen White

Wings of Influence
Dance teachers seem to be well aware of their potential to influence their students, both as developing dancers and maturing human beings. But there’s a theory called the “butterfly effect” that might be worth thinking about in terms of teaching dance.

The butterfly effect describes a phenomenon in chaos theory. Now, you don’t need to understand all the nitty-gritty about chaos theory to stick with me here; it’s enough to know that it’s part of the study of systems that are sensitive to initial conditions. What the butterfly effect describes is the fact that those initial conditions, sometimes as seemingly insignificant as the movement of a butterfly’s wings, have a huge effect on eventual outcomes. You see it all the time in science fiction stories, where someone goes back in time and changes (intentionally or inadvertently) the course of history by making something happen that otherwise wouldn’t have, or by preventing something from happening.

So you’re a butterfly. We all are, as humans, since we affect the lives of the people around us—children and other loved ones, certainly, but in the case of dance teachers, every student they come in contact with. How big an effect you have might seem to depend on how much time the students spend with you or how involved you are in their lives. And to an extent that’s true. But if you think about the definition of the butterfly effect, your influence might not be that simple to predict. And it’s certainly not always measurable. You might think that the shy 8-year-old who took class for three months and then disappeared would have gotten little from you—certainly not compared to that senior in high school you trained from the age of 3.

But there’s a good chance you’d be wrong. That 8-year-old could be forever changed, in ways you can’t even imagine, by her time in your school. She might have discovered the artist inside her (and that dance isn’t her outlet). Or gained self-confidence that allowed her to become a math whiz.

The takeaway here is that you can never really know what effect your wings have. All the more reason to flap them with care. —Cheryl Ossola, Editor in Chief

Land of Sweet Repeats
What is it about The Nutcracker? You’d think that after a lifetime I’d be sick of it. But like Fritz and trouble, I can’t seem to stay away, no matter how I think it would be better to spend my money on something I haven’t seen before. Perhaps to a score I haven’t memorized. Or with a scenario with a bit more cultural significance. But alas. When advertisements of sparkling-white ballerinas in snowstorms or nutcrackers with oversized heads start to pop up, I sigh in anticipation.

It doesn’t seem to matter who dances it. Boston Ballet’s production is grand and elegant and fun, creatively designed and with dancers-to-die-for. You have to love a ballet where mice chuck giant pieces of cheese at each other. (Oh my, what would Petipa think?) But I’m equally happy seeing a production by New Bedford Youth Ballet, with a much smaller budget, for sure, but danced in an equally grand spirit.

When I’m desperate, I’ll even settle for a Nutcracker on DVD. I can choose between Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s spectacular dancing, or Pacific Northwest Ballet’s imaginative Maurice Sendak setting, or George Balanchine’s roster of stars. I sit there alone (no one will watch with me—they think I’m crackers) and hum along, content that I’m celebrating the season with old friends.

Can anyone recall the first time they saw a Nutcracker? Perhaps someone dragged to the ballet as an adult and subsequently enchanted might remember, but for me, it was always part of the season—as predictable as presents under the tree or my annual Christmas Eve cold.

Do you know that in the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Marie and Drosselmeier’s nephew marry? “At the wedding, two and twenty thousand of the most brilliant figures adorned with pearls and diamonds danced, and Marie is believed to be still the queen of a country where sparkling Christmas woods, transparent marzipan castles, in short, the most wonderful things, can be seen if you have the right sort of eyes for it.”

Well, that explains everything! Apparently, I have the “right sort of eyes.” Hazel, with a hint of stardust. —Karen White, Associate Editor

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Igal Perry Gives ‘Nutcracker’ a Contemporary Twist

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The Nutcracker, A Contemporary Look, with choreography by Igal Perry, will be presented in three shows at the Peridance Capezio Center’s in-house theater, 126 E. 13th Street (between Third and Fourth Avenues), New York.

Perry’s first full evening of ballets, Chromatic Motions, was presented in 1979 in collaboration with the Manhattan School of Music. In 1981 and 1982, he headed the ballet department at Jacob’s Pillow, and went on to co-direct the Clive Thompson Dance Company. In 1983, Perry opened his dance school, Peridance Center, and the following year founded his dance company, the Peridance Ensemble, for which he has choreographed over 50 works.

Perry’s works are in the repertories of companies throughout the world, including the Batsheva and Bat-Dor Dance Companies (Israel), Companhia de Danca de Lisboa (Portugal), and the Alberta Ballet (Canada), as well as Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Alvin Ailey II in the United States. Since 1995, Perry has been a guest master teacher at The Juilliard School.

Tickets for the December 18, 8:30 p.m. performance and post-show reception are $40. Performances on December 19 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. are $30 adults, $15 children 12 and under, or $20 students with a valid ID.

Call 212.505.0886 or visit www.peridance.com.

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Huntington Beach’s Ballet Rep Celebrates the Season in a New Home

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More than 300 dancers will convey the merriment of the season as Ballet Repertory Theatre presents 15 performances of The Nutcracker, December 11 to 24, at Golden West College Mainstage Theater, 15744 Golden West Street, Huntington Beach, California.

Orange County Dance Center’s new home. (Photo courtesy OCDC)

The ballet’s home base is the Orange County Dance Center, which after 43 years in the same location moved into a new building on November 22 designed to the specifications of owner and director Michael Houston. The new, state-of-the-art studio at 16161 Springdale Street features marley floors and air conditioning, with spacious classrooms, high ceilings, and large windows.

Since its debut in April 1977, Ballet Repertory Theatre has presented such works as the full-length Giselle, Swan Lake Act II, Sleeping Beauty Act III, and the abridged Red Poppy, as well as more than 20 classical divertissements. The company is composed of approximately 50 dancers and is primarily an all-volunteer organization.

Tickets are $14 to $16 and are available at www.gwctheater.com or by calling 714.895.8150. For more information, visit www.orangecountydancecenter.com

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Anaheim Ballet Takes Its ‘Nutcracker’ on Nevada Tour

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The Anaheim Ballet of Anaheim, California, will be touring Nevada in December with its version of The Nutcracker, with stops at popular resorts in Las Vegas and Laughlin.

Stops include the South Point Showroom, Las Vegas, with performances on December 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and December 19 at 3:00 p.m. For tickets, call the South Point box office at 702.797.8055 or visit www.southpointcasino.com.

The ballet will also be performing at the Riverside Resort’s Celebrity Theatre in Laughlin from December 20 to 22 at 7:00 p.m., with an additional matinee on December 22 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Riverside box office at 800.227.3849 or www.riversideresort.com. More information on the ballet is available at www.anaheimballet.org.

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Over 100 Medford Dancers to Perform at Festival of Trees

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More than 100 dancers from the Medford (Oregon) Civic Ballet and Dance Arts Academy will perform excerpts from The Nutcracker and other holiday numbers at the annual Festival of Trees celebration, December 4 at 2:30 p.m. at the Medford Armory.

The dancers, under the direction of artistic director Mary Cowden Snyder, will perform popular Nutcracker divertissements such as Candy Canes, Arabian, Russian, and Chinese, along with dances to favorite songs such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

The dancers will also perform December 10 at Oak Grove Elementary, Jackson Elementary, and Shady Cove Elementary, with a final free performance of the season at the Dance Arts Center, 9 Hawthorne Street, on December 17 at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 541.772.1362 or visit the Medford Dance Arts Center Facebook page.

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Dancers of All Ages Take to the Stage in Dance-Along ‘Nutcracker’

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Sugar plum fairies and toy soldiers of all ages return once again for the ninth annual Dance-Along Nutcracker, an interactive holiday event presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Get into your tutu and join the pros in The Nutcracker.

Audience members, young and old, are encouraged to dress in their finest tutus and hit the dance floor alongside professional dancers. The December 5 activity includes workshops at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., with performances at noon and 3:00 p.m. at the Preston Bradley Hall,

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street. Admission is free. For details, visit www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.



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Cyber Monday Deal on Pennsylvania Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’

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For one day only—Cyber Monday, November 29—Pennsylvania Ballet is trimming 25 percent off online ticket purchases to Philadelphia’s beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

From 12:01 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, customers will save 25 percent on tickets purchased at www.paballet.org with the promotion code WEBNUT. Groups of 10 or more can save 30 percent by contacting group sales manager Arajua Backman at 215.587.6921 or abackman@paballet.org. The Cyber Monday discount applies to all sections of the theater and all 24 performances running December 4 to 31 at the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust Streets. Regular ticket prices range from $30 to $139.

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Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker Travels through Time to Colonial Days

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Dance Theatre in Westchester performs an abridged, narrated version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet set in wintry colonial Yorktown at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at 2:00 p.m. December 12.

Dance Theatre production sets Nutcracker in colonial times. (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts)

The Colonial Nutcracker, an annual holiday favorite at the Brooklyn Center, is a one-hour production recommended for ages 4 and up that comes complete with a red-coated mouse army and an enchanted Nutcracker prince.

Dance Theatre in Westchester is a professional company founded in 1979 by artistic director Rose-Marie Menes. With a repertoire that includes The Colonial Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Peter and the Wolf, and Cinderella, the company engages both professional dancers from around the world as well as talented students from throughout the tri-state area for its ballets.

All seats are $6 ($7 at the door). The performance takes place at the Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York. For tickets, visit www.brooklyncenter.com or call 718.951.4500. Information on Dance Theatre can be found at www.westchesterperformingarts.com.

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Anaheim Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ Presented at the Grove

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The Anaheim Ballet of Anaheim, California, will present The Nutcracker at the Grove of Anaheim on December 5 at 3:00 and 7:30 p.m.

A special 5:30 p.m. dinner package includes a special visit from the ballet’s lead characters such as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

Tiered seating is $40, $30, and $20. Seating plus dinner at the Grove’s Terra Rosa Room is $90, $80, and $70. To purchase, call the Grove of Anaheim box office at 714.712.2700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. More information on the ballet can be found at www.anaheimballet.org.

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Dancers from NBC and PNB Join Goh Ballet for Nutcracker

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The Goh Ballet’s production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, will feature guest dancers from The National Ballet of Canada and Pacific Northwest Ballet, along with an illusionist, ballroom dancers, gymnasts, and the company’s own award-winning young dancers.

The Goh Ballet’s Nutcracker includes guest artists. (Photo courtesy Goh Ballet)

The production runs December 16 to 19 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees December 18 and 19 at 2 p.m., at the Centre in Vancouver (Canada) for the Performing Arts, with live music by the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. Invited guests include Sonia Rodriguez and Piotr Stanczyk of The National Ballet of Canada and Mara Vinson and Karel Cruz from PNB.

Executive producer for The Nutcracker is Chan Hon Goh, former prima ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada. The production features sets and costumes by Zhang Dinghao and Li Ming and lighting design by Pierre Lavoie.

Tickets range from $28 to $83.25 and are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling 604.280.3311. For more information, visit www.gohballet.com.

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Sarasota Students to Dance with Mentors in Nutcracker

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Sarasota Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker features 80 young performers from the Sarasota Ballet School and Dance—The Next Generation, the school’s scholarship program for disadvantaged and at-risk youth. The production by former artistic director Robert de Warren will run two performances at the Sarasota Opera House in Florida on December 11.

“Our professional dancers frequently work with students of the Sarasota Ballet School during their classes throughout the year,” says Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb. “The opportunity to perform on stage with their mentors is especially inspiring to any young dancer.”

A “Cookies and Cocoa” children’s reception, with photo opportunities with Nutcracker characters, will be held in the Opera House courtyard after the matinee performance.

Tickets start at $20, with half-price tickets for children under 12. Single tickets are available online at SarasotaBallet.org or by calling the box office at 941.359.0099, extension 101. A 20 percent discount is available for groups of 10 or more when purchased in advance at 941.359.0099, extension 101. For information about the entire season, contact the Sarasota Ballet at 941.359.0099 or visit its website.

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New Costumes, Sets, Sparkle in Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s Nutcracker

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Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s production of The Nutcracker, choreographed and directed by ballet master Vladimir Issaev, has scheduled performances in Miami, Aventura, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this holiday season.

Arts Ballet Theatre company dancers in The Nutcracker. (Photo by Joey G Photography)

The cast of 140 includes Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida professional dancers, local character artists, and students of the Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet. This year’s production also features new costumes for the party and snow scenes, a new Christmas tree, and new angel designs.

The Nutcracker will be presented at the Gusman Performing Arts Center in Miami on December 4, the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center from December 10 to 12, and at the Parker Playhouse of Fort Lauderdale on December 18 and 19. For tickets and information visit www.artsballettheatre.org or call 305.948.4777.

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Something Old and Something New at Oregon Ballet Theatre

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Oregon Ballet Theatre’s holiday season features one seasonal classic based on a familiar old tale, and one world premiere built around the holiday stories and memories of the company’s own dancers.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, with costumes and set design by Peter Farmer, will run in 14 performances December 11 to 24.

The ballet will also present A Holiday Revue, choreographed by OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell with live music by vocalist Susannah Mars and pianist Richard Bower, in four performances December 11 to 18. The new production features numbers that range from fun to classic, such as “Choreography” from the movie White Christmas and “Christmastime Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and was woven out of the holiday stories and traditions of company dancers.

Both productions will be held at the Keller Auditorium, SW Third and Clay, Portland. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or at 503.2.BALLET, or at the OBT box office, 818 SE Sixth Avenue, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit www.obt.org for more information.

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Rebecca Kelly Ballet Welcomes Audiences to SoHo Studio

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Audience members are invited to meet the dancers and take a behind-the-scenes look at the SoHo studio of the Rebecca Kelly Ballet during three performances of Highlights from The Nutcracker.

Performances are set for November 19 at 6:00 p.m. and November 20 and 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Rebecca Kelly Studio, 579 Broadway, Studio 4B, in New York City.

Dancers include Giorgia Bovo, Robin Cantrell, Maddie Deavenport, Erin Ginn, Raul Peinado, Sean Scantlebury, and Therese Wendler. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, with students $15 and children between 4 and 7 free with a paying adult. For reservations, call 212.431.8489 between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. weekdays. For more details, visit www.rebeccakellyballet.com.

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George Washington Danced Here: Washington Ballet’s Patriotic Nutcracker

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The Washington Ballet presents Septime Webre’s patriotic rendition of The Nutcracker, starring George Washington as the Nutcracker and King George III as the Rat King, from December 2 to 26 at the Warner Theater, Washington, DC.

Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker is all red, white, and blue. (Photo by Stephen Baranovics)

Previews will be held November 27 and 28 at the THEARC Theater in Southeast DC.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of Webre’s take on the holiday classic, which transports audience members back in time to Revolutionary War days and a “party” on the Potomac among shimmering cherry blossom trees. More than 350 students from the Washington Ballet’s three school campuses will join members of TWB’s company and studio company in the production.

Special guest stars include Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins on December 3; Washington Nationals mascots, the “Racing Presidents,” on December 10; and local media personality Cynné Simpson on December 11.

Tickets can be purchased at www.washingtonballet.org or by calling 202.397.7328. Tickets for the THEARC previews are also available online or by calling 202.362.3606, extension 605.

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Giovanni Ravelo Returns to New Jersey’s Roxey Ballet

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After a three-year absence, Giovanni Ravelo is returning to the Roxey Ballet in time to appear as the Sugar Plum Cavalier in this year’s production of The Nutcracker.

A native of Colombia, Ravelo began his ballet training at Anna Pavlova School in Bogotá. He attended the intensive ballet program at the School of the National Ballet of Cuba for two years, and was a full-time student of dance in the professional division of the Rock School for Dance Education. Ravelo belonged to the National Ballet of Colombia before moving to the United States as a member of the Roxey Ballet in 2004. Currently he is part of the all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

“After a three-year absence from Roxey Ballet, I returned to a place that I call home. When I came to America, the amazing experiences and the artistic growth I achieved during my years here were invaluable. I will have the opportunity to choreograph on the company again, which is something I’m so passionate about,” Ravelo says.

Visit www.roxeyballet.org for information on the upcoming season, including The Nutcracker.





Giovanni Ravelo (Photo courtesy Roxey Ballet)

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Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker Brought to Life for Blind Patrons

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A special program designed to allow blind and low-vision patrons to fully experience a performance of Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker is set for December 19 at 4 p.m.

This is the second year Pennsylvania Ballet and Independence Starts Here! have joined together to offer an audio description program of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Patrons will listen to a live description of the visual elements of a production through an earpiece and small receiver, receive Braille and large-print programs, and be invited backstage for a pre-show touch tour (or “sensory seminar”) with sets, props, and costumes.

Performances of The Nutcracker will be held December 4 to 31 at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tickets are available online at www.paballet.org, by phone at 215.893.1999, or in person at the Kimmel Center box office. To register and purchase tickets for the December 19 performance, contact Arajua Backman, group sales manager, at 215.587.6921 or abackman@paballet.org.

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More Than 100 Performers Celebrate Holidays with Roxey Ballet’s Nutcracker

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The Roxey Ballet Company of Lambertville, New Jersey, presents its 16th anniversary production of The Nutcracker at the College of New Jersey’s Kendall Theater in Ewing in nine performances beginning November 27.

New Jersey’s Roxey Ballet presents The Nutcracker. (Photo courtesy Roxey Ballet)

More than 100 professional and pre-professional dancers and actors from throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania will appear in the production, along with guest appearances by community leaders. The production is under the direction of Mark Roxey, the company’s director and co-founder.

Tickets purchased between November 1 and 7 are eligible for a 10 percent discount (code ARTS). Tickets range from $15 to $50 and can be purchased at www.roxeyballet.org or by calling 609.397.7616.

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