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International Ballet Stars Dance in Festival Ballet Theatre's THE NUTCRACKER

International Ballet Stars Dance in Festival Ballet Theatre's THE NUTCRACKER

Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), Orange County's resident professional ballet company, will present the family favorite production of The Nutcracker, December 9 - 24, 2017 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.

Festival Ballet Theatre's family-friendly, breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky's iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, dancing toys, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, waltzing flowers and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre's Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT's professional company dancers, and exceptional young talent from across the Southland.

The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are a highlight of Clara's adventure - FBT's spectacular guest artists. The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by: Frances Chung (San Francisco Ballet), Irina Dvorovenko (former American Ballet Theatre Principal), Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet), Tiler Peck (New York City Ballet) and Beckanne Sisk (Ballet West). The handsome Cavalier will be danced by: Maxim Beloserkovsky (former American Ballet Theatre Principal), Fabrice Calmels (Joffrey Ballet), Gonzalo Garcia (New York City Ballet) and Vitor Luiz (San Francisco Ballet).

Festival Ballet Theatre's holiday celebration The Nutcracker is made even more magical with sets and costumes by Simon Pastukh and Galina Solovyeva.

Esteemed Guest Artists And Performance Dates:

Beckanne Sisk - Ballet West
Fabrice Calmels - Joffrey Ballet
Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 2:00 PM
Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:00 PM
Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Tara Ghassemieh - Festival Ballet Theatre Company Dancer
Vitor Luiz - San Francisco Ballet
Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Frances Chung - San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz - San Francisco Ballet
Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:00 PM
Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Maria Kochetkova - San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz - San Francisco Ballet
Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 1:00 PM
Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Irina Dvorovenko - Former American Ballet Theatre Principal
Maxim Beloserkovsky - Former American Ballet Theatre Principal
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2017@ 6:00 PM
Friday, December 22, 2017@ 7:00 PM

Tiler Peck - New York City Ballet
Gonzalo Garcia - New York City Ballet
Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 2:00 PM
Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 24, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Tickets: $42 -$55 and can be purchased at or by calling 949.854.4646 x1.

Please note: Guest artists may be subject to change

Nutcracker Tea Party
This year we will be offering a very special seasonal treat; The Nutcracker Tea Party, a pre-show event before select performances. Guests will have an opportunity to enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara herself. The young star will tell the story of the Nutcracker and talk to her guests about the ballet and her magical adventure. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too! Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest are included in the Nutcracker Tea Party ticket price.

Festival Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla. Its mission is to enrich Orange County's artistic and economic vitality, to inspire love and appreciation for dance, and to invigorate ballet by:

• Presenting a season of exhilarating classical and contemporary performances,
• Providing a nurturing environment for dancers and choreographers,
• Offering stimulating educational outreach programs.

For more information, visit

Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla has contributed to the Orange County community for more than 30 years by presenting excellence in dance performance through Festival Ballet Theatre and providing top-tier classical ballet training at Southland Ballet Academy.

During her professional dancing career, Ms. Rizkalla graced the stage in leading roles in well-known classical ballets as well as contemporary pieces. She had the privilege of working under the direction of world-renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky and Serge Lifar. As a young dancer, Ms. Rizkalla trained in the Russian Vaganova method and studied with ballet masters of the Bolshoi and the Kirov. As the culmination of her training, Ms. Rizkalla completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ballet Pedagogy. She established Southland Ballet Academy in 1983 and debuted Festival Ballet Theatre in 1988. In addition to teaching and directing, Ms. Rizkalla was a faculty member of several area institutions.

Many arts organizations have recognized her service. The Orange County Music and Arts Administrators and Orange County Performing Arts Center jointly named her the Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award for Secondary Dance (2003); Youth America Grand Prix awarded Ms. Rizkalla Outstanding Teacher accolades (2002, 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2017); and Arts Orange County recognized Ms. Rizkalla with the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award (2014).

Ms. Rizkalla has been honored to impact the lives of hundreds of students and their families through her teaching. She is proud to be a dedicated educator, an energetic promoter of the arts, and an active participant in the cultural life of her community.

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