Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker returns for December
Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker to be Seen Throughout the Triangle
RALEIGH, NC — Carolina Ballet is presenting 21 performances of artistic director Robert Weiss’ classic Nutcracker during the month of December in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. The schedule of performances in each venue is listed at the end of this release.
Robert Weiss first presented Nutcracker to Triangle audiences in 2001 and the ballet was instantly hailed by the critics as “so imaginative and stunning that it’s for the history books.” However after ten years, in 2011, Weiss felt he needed to spice up his Nutcracker to attract a larger audience from beyond the Triangle, so he conceived a plan to incorporate real magic into the Party Scene of Act I. He began a dialogue with magician / illusionist Rick Thomas (one of today’s premier magic act entertainers) and together they devised a plan for magic tricks that the dancers in the role of Herr Drosselmeyer would be able to pull off like pros. They went to Las Vegas, where Rick Thomas has a show, and for a week they took a crash course in illusion. Rick Thomas conceived the illusions Carolina Ballet presents and Bill Smith of Magic Ventures built them.
With the addition of the new magic, Carolina Ballet gave its Nutcracker a face lift in other areas as well. Jeff A.R. Jones designed an elegant new set for Act I where the Party Scene takes place in the Stahlbaum’s house, and new scenery for the “Land of the Sweets” in Act II. Despite these changes and additions to Nutcracker, Robert Weiss assured the patrons that the choreography would not change, all the favorite Nutcracker dances to Tchaikovsky’s widely recognized score – Waltz of the Flowers, Candy Canes, Ribbon Candy, Mother Ginger and so much more remained the same and were only enhanced by the magic and scenery.
Although Nutcracker is performed throughout December, the production gets underway in early September when the auditions take place for the more than 130 children, from Triangle area ballet schools, who are chosen to fill the roles of Clara, Fritz, Party Scene children, mice and soldiers, Gingerbread cookies, Truffles and Arabian attendants. The rehearsals take place on the weekends throughout the fall all the way up to Thanksgiving week. “This is an enormous commitment for the parents as well as the children,” says Robert Weiss. “We ask that they make Nutcracker their number one priority, but in the end I think everyone feels it is worth all the work. We have many children who come back year after year, which is very gratifying.”
Robert Weiss likes to tell the story of going to see his first Nutcracker at New York City Ballet when he was five years old. He says, even at that young age, it was a life changing experience for him because it was then that he decided that he wanted to be in the ballet. He had to wait until he was eight, though, before he could take classes at School of American Ballet and perform in Nutcracker. Until he was taken into New York City Ballet as a dancer at age 16, Weiss says that he performed every role for a young boy in Nutcracker. Even today he says “no matter how many times I see Nutcracker, I always get that tingle up my spine when the curtain goes up.”
For information regarding the purchase of tickets, patrons should call the Carolina Ballet Box Office at 919 719-0900 or Ticketmaster at 800 982-2787. Ticket prices at DPAC range from $80-26 and in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium they are from $80-22. For tickets in Chapel Hill patrons need to call the Memorial Hall Box Office directly at 919 843-3333. The schedule of performances is as follows:
Chapel Hill, Memorial Hall: December 7 2pm & 8pm
December 8 2pm
Durham, DPAC: December 14 2pm & 8pm
December 15 2pm
Raleigh, RMA: December 20 7:30pm
December 21 11am, 3pm & 7:30pm
December 22 12:30pm & 4:30pm
December 23 2pm & 7:30pm
December 26 2pm & 7:30pm
December 27 2pm & 7:30pm
December 28 2pm & 7:30pm
December 29 2pm
After fifteen seasons, Carolina Ballet, Inc. takes its place among America’s premier arts organizations. Under the innovative direction of artistic director Robert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet continues to expose audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers. The company reflects the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced in North Carolina.
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