Ballet Northwest Presents 30th Anniversary Production of the Nutcracker

 

Submitted by Ballet Northwest

ballet northwest nutcrackerFor many families in Thurston County, attending Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker is the kickoff of their holiday season.

“Audiences delight in our traditional Nutcracker performance in the beautiful Washington Center, yet they also appreciate the occasional surprise,” said Josie Johnson, co-artistic director for Ballet Northwest. Last year, that surprise was a new party scene set designed by Olympia’s Jill Carter. This year, Ballet Northwest’s 30th Anniversary production, other changes are anticipated.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that Gerard Theoret of Seattle will perform the role of Drosselmeyer. Drosselmeyer is Clara’s godfather and is a toy-maker and magician. It is a wonderful role, full of magic, and Theoret will be perfect for it. He has danced with Cirque du Soleil as well as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company and taught at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. We are honored to have him dance in Olympia for our production,” said Ken Johnson, co-artistic director at Ballet Northwest.

Two-hundred people make up the cast, which features local dancers as young as 8 years old as well as Ballet Northwest company dancers. Ballet Northwest’s dance company is comprised of over 70 dancers age 12 and older, primarily from the South Puget Sound area. This year, two dancers will alternate as the Sugar Plum Fairy – Anna Thorton, who participated in the San Francisco Ballet School summer program, and Alyssa Peter, who participated in the American Ballet Theater summer program in New York.

The production is choreographed by Ballet Northwest’s Artistic Directors Ken and Josie Johnson and is sponsored by The Olympian, Dr. Andrew Kapust, DDS, Kell-Chuck Glass and 94.5 ROXY.

WHO: Ballet Northwest

WHAT: The Nutcracker , a ballet in two acts featuring a cast of 200 local dancersBallet Northwest Nutcracker

WHEN: 7:30pm on Dec. 12,13,19 and 20; 2pm on Dec 13,14,20 and 21.

WHERE: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE Olympia, WA 98501

HOW: Ticket Office – 360-753-8586 or order online at www.olytix.org

PRICES: Tickets are $14 to$33, plus $3.00 service fee. Student, senior, and youth discounts available.

Student Rush tickets go on sale one hour before curtain.

Plot Synopsis and History:

During a family Christmas party, the mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer gives Clara a wooden Nutcracker in the shape of a soldier dressed in parade uniform. When her brother Fritz grabs for the toy it breaks. Crushed, Clara nurses the Nutcracker with Herr Drosselmeyer’s help.

Ballet Northwest's Nutcracker is held annually at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
Ballet Northwest’s Nutcracker is held annually at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

After the party, Clara visits her Nutcracker in the great room and falls asleep on the sofa. At midnight, she awakens to find herself shrunk to the size of the toys under the tree. An army of mice corner her and the Nutcracker springs to life. He, Clara, and a host of Toy Soldiers defeat the Mouse King and his army.

The Nutcracker is revealed to be a prince, finally freed from the Mouse King’s magic. To thank her for breaking the spell that bound him inside the nutcracker, the Prince takes Clara to the Land of Sweets, where The Sugar Plum Fairy and her people dance to celebrate the Prince’s return.

The Nutcracker is a fairy-tale ballet based on the L’Histoire d’un Casse Noisette (The Story of the Hazelnut-Cracker) by Dumas Père, which is itself based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the score for the ballet, which premiered on December 17, 1892 at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg with the Imperial Russian Ballet. Though The Nutcracker was performed in Russia for many years, it was not performed in its entirety in the US until December 29, 1944 by the San Francisco Opera Ballet, where it became an annual holiday tradition. For 10 years, they were the only company in the country to perform it until the New York City Ballet staged a production with George Balanchine’s choreography on February 2, 1954. It wasn’t long before the ballet secured its place in American tradition. Balanchine’s choreography has become the most emulated in the world.

Since 1970, Ballet Northwest has been a community-based group dedicated to promoting, teaching, and preserving the art of dance in Southwestern Washington. The company offers educational opportunities for local dancers as well as outreach throughout the community.

 

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