|Piotr Ostaltsov as Uncle Drosselmeyer captivates the children in Festival Ballet's 2002 Nutcracker|
Photo: Thomas Nola-Rion
Festival Ballet Providence celebrates the holiday season with its annual favorite, The Nutcracker, after returning from a three-city tour to Venezuela. Five performances will take place in the opulent Providence Performing Arts Center December 15 to 17, 2006, Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 PM.
Ticket sales are already brisk for this magical production by the state's premiere ballet company.
The Nutcracker brings the magic of the holidays to the stage with a production noted in Motif as "...a true Christmas gift not to be missed..."
Festival Ballet Providence's performance will feature the Festival Ballet Providence Orchestra, providing live music under the baton of conductor Dr. Edward Markward. The orchestra will be joined by the soprano and alto voices of the Providence College Women's Chorus under the direction of Dr. Michelle Holt for the Snow Scene, which also includes hundreds of Swarovski crystal snowflakes and a dozen dancers in sparkling white stone-studded costumes. Twenty-five singers will participate to enrich this stunning scene.
Festival Ballet Providence Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric is looking forward to many new audience members this year, noting "Every year we put a fresh face on this production. With seven new dancers joining last year's company members, new choreography and new casting, The Nutcracker will convey an entirely new feeling."
As noted by the Providence Journal, it is a production full of "spectacle and splendor".
The production also distinguishes itself with over 80 talented dancers as young as 7 years old, from throughout the region, dancing as Angels, Party Children, Candy Dolls, Mice, Soldiers and Russian dancers. These young performers were chosen from over 150 who auditioned for roles in this production on September 17th.
Festival Ballet Providence is proud to provide the opportunity for these young local performers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to perform supporting roles along side the seasoned professional dancers.
The coveted role of Clara will be shared by two members of Festival Ballet Providence's Junior Company, Kirsten Evans and Katie Paquin. Katie, a resident of North Providence, is a 16 year old Junior at LaSalle Academy, and has trained at Festival Ballet Providence since she was 4 years old.
Kirsten, from Seekonk, is 14 years old and in the 9th grade at Providence Country Day. This is her seventh year studying at Festival Ballet Providence.
Djuric noted "I'm always excited for the students performing the role of Clara. Not only is it their first major dancing role of their young careers, it is also demands an ability to portray a character with believability and enormous stage presence. I can't wait to see what each brings to the stage."
This story ballet follows a young girl, Clara, whose gift of a Nutcracker doll from her beloved Uncle Drosselmeyer leads her from a joyous family Christmas party complete with dancing dolls and a tree that grows 30 feet in height, to a midnight battle pitting life-size toy soldiers against giant mice lead by the Mouse Queen.
Protected by her gallant Nutcracker, Clara survives the ordeal, finding that her Nutcracker doll has been transformed into a human prince. He leads her through a whirlwind of dancing snowflakes to the delectable Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier reign over a colorful troupe of dancers from round the world.
They celebrate the victory over the Mouse Queen with brilliant dances that culminate in a grand finale.
When, Where and How Much
Nutcracker Tickets: Performances take place at the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, in Providence, RI. Performance times are Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 pm. Tickets priced from $18.00 to $60.00 are available by contacting the PPAC Box Office at 401.421-ARTS or visiting www.ppacri.org. A discount of $5.00 has been offered to patrons holding Lion King tickets or ticket stubs. Group discounts are available by calling PPAC at 401.421.2997 extension # 3162. (Paul Hiatt).
The 2006 production of Festival Ballet Providence's production of The Nutcracker is made possible in part by sponsors Swarovski, David Yurman, and additional support from NBC10, Poder 1110, The Providence Phoenix and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
Clara's High Tea and Brunch
Clara's High Tea and Brunch: Festival Ballet Providence will offer Clara's Tea and Brunch on Sunday December 17th from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the Federal Reserve Restaurant, 60 Dorrance Street, Providence, prior to the 1:00 matinee performance. This holiday-themed meal is complete with holiday decorations, dozens of Nutcrackers adorning the holiday-themed dining room, costumed characters from The Nutcracker including Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara, her friends, and Archie the Nutcracker dog,; brunch favorites, pastries, tea and coffee. Click here to find out more
Clara Kirsten Evans / Katie Paquin
Herr Drosselmeyer Petr Ostaltsov
Columbine Doll Heather O'Halloran / Jennifer Ricci
Harlequin Doll Ilya Burov / Henry Montilla
The Nutcracker Ilya Burov / Henry Montilla
Mouse Queen Courtney Fraga / Lauren Menger
Snow Queen Heather O'Halloran / Jennifer Ricci / Vilia Putrius
Snow King Alexander Akulov / Davide Vittorino / Maxime Podshevalenko
Sugar Plum Fairy Leticia Guerrero / Vilia Putrius / Carolyn Dellinger / Heather O'Halloran
Her Cavalier Davide Vittorino / Gleb Lyamenkoff / Alexander Akulov
Spanish Leticia Guerrero & Alexander Akulov / Vilia Putrius & Gleb Lyamenkoff
Arabian Jennifer Ricci / Heather O'Halloran,
with Maxime Podshevalenko
Marzipan Ashley Andries / Lauren Kennedy
Heather O'Halloran / Elizabeth Jessee / Nikki Cuozzo
with Roger Fonnegra
Russian Ilya Burov / Mark Harootian
Chinese Erica Chipp / Vanessa Widmer with Mark Harootian / Henry Montilla
Dew Drop Fairy Carolyn Dellinger / Leticia Guerrero
Mr. Djuric is a former first soloist with the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. His training and experience encompass ballet, jazz, modern, folk dance and musical theater. During his ballet career he has worked with Ana Roje, Natalia Dudinskaya, Constantin Sergeyev, Svetlana Afanasieva, Maryon Lane and Norman Dixon.
As a choreographer, he has been recognized with numerous awards including gold and bronze medals at the Yugoslavian choreographers' competition. Besides Yugoslavia (and its former six republics) and the United States, his work has been performed in Russia, Switzerland, Malta, Romania, and Italy.
In 1991, Mr. Djuric was appointed Artistic Director at Ballet New England. Under his direction, Ballet New England's Company and School dramatically increased its programs and visibility, becoming the leader of New Hampshire's dance community. In 1993 and again in 1998, Mr. Djuric was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts (NHSCA). He was commissioned as a choreographer by the Council to create an original ballet for the 1997 Governor's Awards in the Arts Ceremony.
In January 1998, he co-founded Ballet Theatre Workshop and the Children's Repertory Ballet in Portsmouth, NH. In 1999, as part of a collaboration with digital installation artist Harry Umen and the North Country Chamber Players, he received one of two Millennium Grants from the NHSCA to choreograph to Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.
In July, 1998, Mr. Djuric joined Festival Ballet Providence as Artistic Director, where he is responsible for managing the Company, Junior Company and the Festival Ballet Center for Dance Education. During his tenure, the organization has grown into one of the most exciting and accomplished cultural organizations in Rhode Island.
Festival Ballet Providence was named the 2002 Outstanding Arts Organization by the Arts and Business Council of Rhode Island. This award is presented to an organization that demonstrates "unwavering commitment to excellence, significant impact on the community, and strong organizational development".
In 2004, he received WaterFire's Aphrodite Award recognizing beauty and seduction, on behalf of Festival Ballet Providence, for "reaching new heights in bringing brilliant ballet to Rhode Island and in reaching out to introduce new audiences to dance." During his tenure, Festival ballet's budget has quintupled in growth and gained renewed stature in the arts community.
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Festival Ballet Providence
Providence Performing Arts Center
222 Weybossett Street
December 15-17, 2006
Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30
Sunday at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm
Price: $18-$60.00, price includes $3.00 Theater Restoration Fee. Discounts for Groups, children and seniors
Reservations: 401.421.ARTS or visit http://www.ppacri.org
Clara's Tea & Brunch
Clara's Tea and Brunch is an elegant meal complete with costumed characters from The Nutcracker, dozens of Nutcrackers adorning the lavish, holiday-themed dining room, breakfast & brunch items, pastries, desserts, and teas from around the world.
Archie, the Nutcracker Dog
For the past seven years, Archie, the Festival Ballet's resident dog, has played a part in the Nutcracker written just for him. Byran Rourke wrote all about Archie in the December 15, 2005 Providence Journal