RALEIGH, NC, November 14, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Robert Weiss, artistic director and CEO of Carolina Ballet (http://www.carolinaballet.com), has announced that the company will perform the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, in three locations this year beginning Thanksgiving weekend. With the success of the company's "new" rendition of The Nutcracker last season, Weiss decided to expand the run of the annual holiday favorite for Carolina Ballet's 15th anniversary season. Carolina Ballet will present The Nutcracker, accompanied by a live orchestra for all performances, at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium (RMA) Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 23; at Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2; and at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on Saturday, Dec. 29 and Sunday, Dec. 30. The performance schedule is as follows:
- Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m.
- Friday, Dec.14 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec.16 at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 18 through Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m.
At UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall
- Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m.
After 10 successful seasons of presenting nearly 200 performances of Carolina Ballet's traditional The Nutcracker, in 2011 artistic director Robert Weiss decided to make some changes to the annual holiday program with new scenery, designed by Jeff A.R. Jones, and grand illusions for the Party Scene of Act I. Weiss approached several magicians with his idea and found Rick Thomas, one of the top magicians working in Las Vegas, who would offer the "wow factor" Weiss wanted without taking anything away from the elegance of the Victorian Christmas Eve scene. Besides having been in the magic business with nightly shows in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, Thomas and his sister had been junior ballroom dancing champions, giving him a true appreciation for music and dance. He was clear from the outset that he was not going to create a magic show, but rather weave magic into the story, as part of the dance. The News & Observer commended the balance, with critics awestruck by the new set and fascinating illusions.
The Party Scene in Act I of The Nutcracker centers on the mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer, a toymaker and godfather to the Stahlbaum's daughter, Clara. He arrives at the party with his nephew and proceeds to entertain the guests with wonderful illusions, grand scale magic replacing the standard parlor tricks. It culminates with a special guest appearing out of a giant book to give Clara the Nutcracker doll Drosselmeyer has made for her. As Tchaikovsky wrote the magic sections into the original score, adding "real" magic to the scene is not changing anything - it is just enhancing what was already there.
There is plenty of other magic behind the scenes getting The Nutcracker ready. In early September, more than 200 children auditioned for a role in The Nutcracker. There are 67 roles for children in the cast which includes the party children, truffles, soldiers, mice, gingerbread cookies, Arabian attendants, and Clara and her little brother, Fritz.
Rehearsals begin right after the auditions, with Lori Christman Bourtasenkov, former soloist with Carolina Ballet, working her own magic throughout the fall to get the 130-plus children ready for the stage. Weiss acknowledges how hard the children work to become a part of the cast, practicing often and learning all of their spots and moves. The professional dancers of Carolina Ballet are the glitz and the glamour, but the children are an integral part. Without the children, there would be no The Nutcracker.
Ticket prices for The Nutcracker range from $20 to $80 and may be purchased by calling the Carolina Ballet box office at (919) 719-0900, through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 or at Carolina Ballet's website, http://www.carolinaballet.com. Tickets for the performances UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall are available through contacting Carolina Performing Arts by calling (919) 834-3333 or visiting http://www.carolinaperformingarts.org.
"We are very excited to bring back our revamped The Nutcracker this year, with even more performances," said Weiss. "Thomas was the perfect choice to transform the magic of the show, and of course, the children are really at the heart of it. They work so hard - for many of them, it is a dream come true to perform in The Nutcracker, and they really complete the experience."
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ABOUT CAROLINA BALLET:
Carolina Ballet is a world-class professional ballet company based in Raleigh, N.C. Since its professional launch in 1998 under the leadership of Artistic Director/CEO Robert Weiss, the company has staged more than 80 world premiere ballets, toured internationally in China and Hungary, and has been acclaimed as one of the premiere arts organizations in the country. The mission of Carolina Ballet is to entertain and enlighten audiences in Raleigh, the greater Triangle area, North Carolina and beyond. The organization seeks to accomplish this mission by presenting traditional ballets of legendary masters; commissioning new works by innovative choreographers; educating current and future audiences through programs for school-aged children and other performance outreach activities; and attracting, developing, and retaining excellent dancers and artistic personnel, combined with a fiscally responsible management and board of directors. For more information, please visit http://www.carolinaballet.com or call (919) 719-0800.
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