Neglia Ballet's 10th Anniversary Production of THE NUTCRACKER
Neglia Ballet's The Nutcracker is still going strong as the company gears up to perform its 10th Anniversary presentation of the holiday treat at Shea's Performing Art Center with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The original 2009 premier of perhaps the largest locally-produced production in Western New York was met with rave reviews, including, "From the opening curtain's rise to the dancer's final bows, the much-talked-about production showcased a mix of tradition and wonder that few community productions of the ballet achieve." (The Buffalo News)
In Neglia's traditional staging of The Nutcracker, we follow young Marie on her journey through a wondrous battle scene, a breathtaking winter wonderland, and delectable land of sweets. The Buffalo News has called the production "a holiday spectacle capable of eliciting wide-eyed wonder in children of all ages."
International stars and local favorites complete a cast that brings the annual holiday favorite to life. For the tenth consecutive year, Neglia Ballet Artists is collaborating with Shea's Performing Arts Center and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky's cherished score. Reviewer Steve Sucato said the collaboration reinforces "that love affair with a magical production that excited the senses and warmed the hearts of audience members of all ages."
This year, the addition of world-class award-winning guest artists take the production to new heights. Sergii Sidorsky will perform the role of the Prince. Sidorsky is a graduate of the Kiev State Choreographic School and former Principal dancer with the Schevchenko National Ballet Theater in Ukraine. He is considered to be an honored artist of Ukraine. He has won numerous awards including, a silver medal at the IV Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition, best performance in a pas de deux and the Marius Petipa award for outstanding performance in classical dance in the VIII Open Russian Ballet Competition. Sidorsky has been an invited guest artist for international ballet galas, gracing the most prestigious ballet theatres in the wold including, the Bolshoi, Mariinsky and Royal Ballet. The esteemed role of Sugar Plum Fairy will be performed by Gretel Batista. Born in Cuba, she received her training at the Cuban National Ballet School. Later she moved to the United States and joined the Orlando Ballet and is currently a principal dancer with the Dance Alive National Ballet. Batista has toured throughout South America and Europe and was invited to perform in the International Ballet Festival of Miami.
Several local favorite artists will reprise the roles they originated in the 2009 Neglia production, including Sergio Neglia (Nutcracker), Vincent O'Neill (Uncle Drosselmeyer), Suzanne Evans (Mother Ginger), and Brian Pagkos (Rat King). As an added bonus, many former students that appeared in the premiere performances are returning for the 10th anniversary presentation. Four of the six original party scene boys (all former Neglia Conservatory students) will perform as party scene adults. Rorey Fraser, one of the original party boys and current member of the Hartford Ballet Company, will also be performing the Arabian Dance with current Neglia student and selected participant in the 2018 Jackson International Ballet Competition, Maggie Weatherdon.
Two Neglia students and seniors in the Buffalo Public Schools stand out as the only students to perform in all 10 presentations of Neglia's The Nutcracker, rising through the ranks from the smallest roles to featured dancers in this year's production. Lara Deboy was an Angel in 2009 and takes on the role of a Snowflake and Flower this year, and Adrien Malof, who originated the role of Lead Mouse in 2009, will perform the leading role of Marie for the second year.
This year's production of The Nutcracker will be conducted by the BPO's new assistant conductor, Todd Craven. Todd began his tenure with the BPO this past fall, and presides over select Pops concerts and special orchestral engagements, as well as the BPO Kids series and concerts for students.
Neglias Ballet's The Nutcracker is the perfect holiday tradition, filled with memory-making moments, breathtaking live ballet, and the beauty of Tchaikovsky's score played by a professional orchestra, all performed on the majestic Shea's stage. Enjoy performances on Saturday, December 22nd at 7pm and Sunday, December 23rd at 2pm.