American Repertory Ballet Presents 50th Annual NUTCRACKER at State Theatre Today

American Repertory Ballet's 50th Annual Nutcracker production will come to State Theatre today, December 21 at 1:00pm and 4:30pm. These performances feature Tchaikovsky's score played live by an orchestra under the direction of Maestro Michael Pratt, and vocals by the Princeton Girlchoir. In addition to ARB's 50th Nutcracker milestone, State Theatre is also celebrating its own 25th year.

American Repertory Ballet, formerly known as Princeton Ballet, has been performing its Nutcracker at State Theatre for over 20 years. ARB's current version of Nutcracker is choreographed by Artistic Director Douglas Martin, with additional choreography by Resident Choreographer Mary Barton, features the Act I Party and Battle scenes from Company Founder Audrée Estey's original production. This year, there is a brand new growing Christmas tree, designed by Carl Sprague.

ARB's Nutcracker is a special opportunity for select students from Princeton Ballet School to join the professional company on stage. Many are from Middlesex and Mercer Counties. Some students from Princeton Ballet School's New Brunswick location will be performing at the New Brunswick tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 6 at the corner of Livingston Avenue and George Street, in front of Monument Square, from 5:00pm-7:00pm. These New Brunswick students are DANCE POWER Scholars - students who were selected from American Repertory Ballet's DANCE POWER program in New Brunswick Public Schools to attend Princeton Ballet School on full scholarship.

Princeton Ballet School Director Mary Pat Robertson will be hosting Pre-Performance Insights today, December 21 at 12:00pm (prior to the 1:00pm show), today, December 21 at 3:30pm (prior to the 4:30pm show), and Sunday, December 22 at 3:30pm (prior to the 1:00pm show). These discussions, which will introduce you and your children to the ballet's story and characters before the show, will be held at the United Methodist Church at 323 George Street - diagonally across the street from the theatre. Robertson will also host a post-performance discussion with costumed characters after the 1:00pmperformance on December 21. This will be a special chance for audience members to meet the dancers, ask questions, and request autographs.

In nearby Princeton, ARB will be holding a reception in honor of its 50th Nutcracker Season: its "Celebrate the Legacy" Reception at The Nassau Club on November 30 at 7:00pm. The event will feature gourmet hors d'oeuvres prepared by The Nassau Club Chef Brian Dougherty, a 50/50 raffle, an auction, displays of photos and mementos from the company's past 50 years of Nutcracker, and more. More information about this event, including menu items, and a downloadable event invitation, is on ARB's website. Visit www.arballet.org/ARB/Nutcracker for more information about this reception and the 50th AnnualNutcracker performance season.

Also in Princeton, ARB will host its annual "Nutcracker Sweets" party on November 29 at 3:15pm - between the 1:00pm and 4:30pm performances at McCarter Theatre. At "Nutcracker Sweets," families can enjoy homemade treats; tea, coffee, and hot cocoa served in china teacups; story time; and free photos with costumed characters. Tickets for "Nutcracker Sweets" are sold separately from performance tickets, but they are also available by calling the McCarter box office: 609-258-ARTS (2787). Please contact Naomi Levecchia with any questions: nlevecchia@arballet.org, 732-249-1254 x25.

Top sponsors of ARB's 50th Annual Nutcracker Season include: New Brunswick Development Corporation, Covance Foundation, The Charles and Rachel Gray Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and Hampton Inn. Town Topics and Princeton Magazine, Packet Media, NJ Family, Bucks County Courier, Bucks Life Magazine, Moxie Woman Magazine, and Princeton Alumni Weekly are media sponsors.

American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the popular On Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company's rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008, 2011, and 2012.




More On: American Repertory Ballet, Douglas Martin, Mary Barto, George Street, Brian Dougher, McCarter Theatre.

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