Bristol Ballet's "The Nutcracker"
Bristol Ballet Features Professional Dancers and Gingerbread Ball in 2014 “The Nutcracker”
Familiarity and surprises in store for Bristol Ballet’s production, and includes special free school performances!
What: Bristol Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Where: Paramount Center for the Performing Arts
When: School performances: December 4 and 5 at 10:00 am
Public performances: December 5 at 7:30 pm, December 6 at 12:30 pm, and December 7 at 2:30 pm
Cost: School performances: Free to school children and qualifying chaperones
Public performances: $6 children under 6, $12 students and Seniors, $15 Adults
George Balanchine’s visions of sugar plums took a lesser known Russian ballet featuring national dances and made it into one of the most popular ballets of all time. As the Bristol Ballet prepares its “The Nutcracker” confections, it is part of a well over 100-year-old tradition. First presented in Russia in 1892, the ballet was not an instant hit. In 1954, Balanchine made the first radical changes to the ballet, embellishing the various dance sequences, divertissements, as candies and treats instead of just national dances. That was the change that made the ballet wildly popular in the United States.
Carrying on the great tradition, Bristol Ballet prepares for its 2014 holiday evening and matinee performances on December 5, 6, and 7, at the Paramount Center for the Arts, in Bristol, Tennessee, along with a special Gingerbread Ball event. No radical changes are in store for the much-loved ballet, but there are some differences from last year. “We are always changing little things to feature the talents of our current company dancers”, said Michele Plescia, Artistic Director of Bristol Ballet. “Additionally, choreographers are rarely completely content with their choreography and like to fine tune it, especially when it’s performed for many years,” added Plescia. “The audience may notice some variations in costuming and set design as our community support and capacity continues to grow.” Ms. Plescia has added a Lead Angel to the opening of Act II, and made the Chinese variation a little pas de deux, with two younger company members. “It’s going to be cute. The two dancers work well together, and it gives them a new and exciting challenge,” said Plescia.
Five guest dancers will appear in the production. Professional dancer Erin Ginn, a native of Kingsport now residing in New York City, appears again as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Joel Levy, a professional dancer also from NYC, will appear for the second year as the Nutcracker. New guest dancers to Bristol Ballet this year are J. Ryan Carroll and Lydia Haug, professional dancers living in New York City. They will be appearing as the Snow Pas de Deux couple and Arabian Divertissement. Former Bristol Ballet dancer Camille Clark will appear as a guest artist in the roles of Demi Soloist Snow and Spanish Soloist.
Additionally, the production will have 42 Bristol Ballet students and company members, and 16 community members performing. Mike Locke, a local high school football coach and active community theatre member, will reprise his role as Drosselmeyer again this year. “Mike is a wonderful Drosselmeyer. He’s animated and stately on stage, and has a good sense of musicality,” said Pat Holden, rehearsal assistant at Bristol Ballet.
Two school performances are planned, free of charge, on December 4 and 5 at 10am. Schools can reserve seats by calling Bristol Ballet at 276-669-6051. Additionally, Tennessee school teachers can apply for transportation costs through the Tennessee Arts Commission at http://tacarts.egrant.net. Commission funds are limited, so applications should be made right away.
One of the most exciting new plans is the addition of the “Gingerbread Ball” after the Saturday matinee, held in the new addition of Blackbird Bakery. Attendees will enjoy gingerbread cookies, snowflake sugar cookies, hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. They will also have the opportunity for photographs to be taken with some of the cast members. The cost is $10 per person. Reservations can be made by calling Bristol Ballet at 276-669-6051.
Come one, come all! If you’ve seen The Nutcracker one time or fifty times, there’s always something new blended with the tradition that we all love about the holiday season. Support the ballet and enjoy this show to remember!