Richmond Ballet Opens THE NUTCRACKER Today

A beloved holiday tradition returns to Richmond, when Richmond Ballet presents Stoner Winslett's full-length The Nutcracker, today, December 14-23, 2013 at the historic Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage. Heralded as "one of the country's most perfect [Nutcracker productions]" by The New York Times, The Nutcracker will feature the company's full roster of professionals, as well as 26 trainees and over 150 accomplished students from The School of Richmond Ballet.

Peter Tchaikovsky's famous score will once again be brought to life by The Richmond Symphony for all 13 performances.

As part of the company's 30th Anniversary Season, Richmond Ballet will sell a commemorative children's holiday book, written by Richmond Ballet dancer, Valerie Tellmann. Richmond Ballet - The Nutcracker, as told by the Sugar Plum Fairy, Valerie Tellmann features photographs from Richmond Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, Valerie's retelling of the famous holiday story and of her journey from the role of Clara in 1994 to that of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The book will be available for purchase at the Carpenter Theatre before all Nutcracker performances, as well as at Ballet's Box Office and, for a limited time, at the gift shop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

"Nutcracker always represents a very special time in our season," said Stoner Winslett, Artistic Director of Richmond Ballet. "The Nutcracker is the result of a true collaborative process between all the artistic elements of the Richmond Ballet world - our professional dancers, students from our school, and even students from our Minds In Motion program. Moreover, in celebrating our 30th Anniversary as a professional company this year, The Nutcracker seems to carry even more significance. Over these past three decades, so many people have become a part of the Richmond Ballet community through the experience of The Nutcracker - perhaps as a way of seeing dance and hearing live classical music for the first time, or perhaps as a way creating treasured family traditions for this special time of year. We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of Richmond holiday traditions for the past 30 years, and we are looking forward to continuing that opportunity for another 30 years, and more."

From the opening notes of Tchaikovsky's overture, audiences are whisked into the warm, candlelit drawing room of the Silberhaus family, buzzing with celebrations of Christmas. To the delight of the family's young daughter, Clara, Dr. Drosselmeyer, the mysterious toymaker, and his handsome nephew arrive with a special gift - a wooden nutcracker doll - that captures the girl's imagination. As darkness falls, Dr. Drosselmeyer's magic begins to work, setting in motion fantastical events that will fill Clara's dreams: a battle beneath the branches of an enchanted Christmas tree, the transformation of the nutcracker doll into the young Nutcracker Prince, and a journey from a snow-covered forest to the far-off land of the Kingdom of Sweets. Since its premiere in Russia in 1892, The Nutcracker has become a treasured classic with a special place in nearly every ballet company around the world.

Winslett's choreography for The Nutcracker is filled with beautiful and familiar large-scale pieces for the Ballet's corps, such as the "Waltz of the Flowers", as well as standout variations known for their challenging lifts and unique partnering style. The famous second act - The Kingdom of Sweets - is a technical test for the company's dancers, as they are asked to dance both in stylized steps as well as in pure, classical formations. Many of the company's dancers will dance multiple roles throughout the course of the run, even throughout the course of one performance. "In my dream version of America," writes Alastair Macaulay, "every state has a Nutcracker this good...everything is in harmony" (The New York Times).

Clara's Tea Party, a special event hosted by the Ballet featuring tea and sweets, will once again be a part of this year's Nutcracker festivities. Tea party participants will have the opportunity to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen, Clara, her Nutcracker Prince and other favorite characters. The tea party will take place in Rhythm Hall at Richmond CenterStage. As per usual, Clara's Tea Party is a separately ticketed event.

Tickets to The Nutcracker and to Clara's Tea Party are available in person at the Richmond Ballet Box Office, by phone at 1.800.514.3849, or online at eTix.com.

The Nutcracker 2013 Performances:
Saturday, December 14, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 15, 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Wednesday, December 18, 7:00 pm
Thursday, December 19, 7:00 pm
Friday, December 20, 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 21, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 22, 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Monday, December 23, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Clara's Tea Party 2013:
Saturday, December 14, 4:00 pm
Saturday, December 21, 4:00 pm
Monday, December 23, 4:00 pm

The Nutcracker is generously presented by Dominion Resources.

Major support for Richmond Ballet production of The Nutcracker is provided by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation and the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Additional support is provided by Delta Air Lines, Martin's Food Markets and West Broad Audi.

For more information about Richmond Ballet and its classes and programs, visit www.richmondballet.com.




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