Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Nutcracker at the Irvine Barclay Theater

Taking my tree climbing boy, who usually has rocks in his pockets and holes worn in his pants, to a ballet was bound to be an experience.  The lights dimmed, the music swelled, the dancers began to spin a tale of a holiday party…..then a tap tap tap on my shoulder.  My boy whispered, “Isn’t there any talking??” And thus began a boy’s first experience at the ballet.  He moaned and groaned as the ballerinas lifted their party dolls in perfect unison. He tossed and turned in his seat in excruciating agony as the men in tights pirouetted at the party.

Then it happened.  The fog rolled in as the party guests retired.  Rodents with red beady eyes creeped in and a fierce battle ensued between the mice and the toy soldiers.  The boy perked up at the prospect of battle and if swords were used it couldn’t be all that bad.

Me? I marveled at the beauty of the dancers and the exquisite costumes. There’s something about ballerina pink tights and tutus that bring out the girlie girl in me. I was mesmerized by the American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer, Irina Dvorovenko, whose grace and femininity was intoxicating.

There was an adorable little girl near us who would sneak into the aisle from time to time, to get a better look or to imitate the action onstage. I think it’s wonderful that that was okay. This Nutcracker is a great, non-stuffy introduction for kids to ballet.  The Barclay Theatre is the perfect venue for an intimate theatrical experience where children can see all the action up close.

After the performance, as we walked to the parking garage, my boy ran ahead and did a jaunty pirouette.   Priceless.

Press Release
Come celebrate the beauty and pageantry of the holidays with Festival Ballet Theatre’s annual production of the beloved ballet, The Nutcracker, through December  24, 2011, at Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Set to the timeless music of Peter Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives the gift of a nutcracker soldier from her mysterious godfather. During the night, magical events unfold: the Christmas tree grows taller, toy soldiers and little mice become larger, and Clara’s nutcracker comes to life. He battles the ferocious Mouse King, and just when it seems all is lost, Clara distracts the Mouse King and saves her beloved nutcracker. Her act of bravery transforms the nutcracker into a handsome Prince who takes Clara on a magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets , where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Prince tells her about their daring battle with the army of mice and she rewards them with a celebration of dances. As a finale, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier dance a beautiful Pas De Deux. Clara awakens from her dream and finds herself by her Christmas tree with her beloved nutcracker.

This full-length, traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla, and features a cast of professional dancers along with more than 200 Southern California children.

Select performances feature internationally acclaimed guest artists from American Ballet Theatre: Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky (Dec. 10 & 11), and Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev (Dec. 16, 17 & 18).  Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer  Carla K├Ârbes and Joffrey Ballet Principal Dancer Fabrice Calmels are featured at the December 20 – 24 performances.

Tickets are $35 for children, $37 for seniors, and $40 for adults. Special Family Night performances on December 10 and 16 at 7 p.m. are only $30 per ticket if purchasing four or more tickets. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 949.854.4646 or visit The Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive in Irvine.