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CAROLINA BALLET CONTINUES ANNUAL NUTCRACKER HOLIDAY TRADITION | Dec 18-27

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“A Production so Imaginative and Stunning that its for the History Books*”

Carolina Ballet to present the company’s ninth annual production of the holiday family classic, Nutcracker, at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

There will be 14 performances of Nutcracker for the Christmas holiday season opening December 18-27, 2009 in the following schedule:

  • Nutcracker0208bFriday, December 18
    7:30pm
  • Saturday, December 19
    11:00am, 3:00 & 7:30pm
  • Sunday, December 20
    2:00 & 6:00pm
  • Tuesday, December 22
    2:00 & 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, December 23
    2:00 & 7:30pm
  • Saturday, December 26
    2:00 & 6:00pm
  • Sunday, December 27
    2:00 & 6:00pm

Although the curtain doesn’t go up on Nutcracker until December 18, Carolina Ballet has been working on the production since the weekend following Labor Day in September when more than 200 children auditioned for parts as soldiers, mice, gingerbread cookies, truffles, party scene children, and, of course, the role of Clara.  There are children from all over the Triangle area involved in the production including Knightdale, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh and many of these children have been in several Nutcracker production during the past few years, growing from the tiniest mouse to, in some cases, Party Girl.  “It is an enormous commitment,” says Artistic Director Robert Weiss, “and we are very grateful to all the parents who are willing to give up so much of their own time to let their children be in Carolina Ballet’s professional production.”

Carolina Ballet Company in Nutcracker; photo by Russ Howe

Carolina Ballet Company in Nutcracker; photo by Russ Howe

When Robert Weiss premiered his choreography for Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky’s well known score in December 2001 the News & Observer wrote “they got what they came for. Spectacular costumes and sets and an enthusiastic young company with new choreography performing the holiday classic.” The scenery for Nutcracker was designed by Jeff A.R. Jones and built by Alternate Route Studios.  This includes the Christmas tree that grows 28 feet to the top of the stage and the magnificent back drop for the Land of Sweets of Act II.  There is real snow (from the Snow Master T-1000) that turns the end of the first act into a real winter wonderland.  Judanna Lynn designed the costumes and David Heuvel, Costume Production Director at Ballet West, coordinated the five costume shops around the country and in England that made those costumes and the animal heads a reality.  Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker is performed to live music with Alfred E. Sturgis, Music Director, conducting.  Francis Mason on WQXR-FM, the radio station of the New York Times, said “Weiss has made dances that magnify anew the power of a dream a little girl has under the Christmas tree.”

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Robert Weiss likes to tell the story of going to see his first Nutcracker when he was five years old at New York City Ballet.  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 perform in Nutcracker and he says that, until he was taken into New York City Ballet as a dancer at age 16, 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.”

The following are interesting statistics regarding Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker:

  • Nutcracker-2Over 150 costumes were designed for this production.
  • There are over 2,500 yards of fabric used in the costumes.
  • It took over 12 yards of net or tulle to make a single tutu skirt.
  • The Waltz of the Flowers has over 190 hand painted petals on 12 costumes.
  • The skirts of the Snow dresses are airbrushed layer by layer to create the color seen on the stage.
  • There are 51 buttons hand sewn on each of the 40 soldier costumes.
  • The Mother Ginger costume weighs over 100 pounds and is lowered by pulley over the Mother Ginger character, who is on stilts.

Patrons are urged to buy their tickets for Nutcracker early to be guaranteed the best choice of seats.  For ticket information, please call 919 719-0900 or Ticketmaster at 800 982-2787.  Ticket prices range from $15 in the outer balcony to $100 in the Golden Circle.

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Carolina Ballet, Inc. has rapidly taken 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 exposes audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers.  This twelfth season represents the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced here in North Carolina.

(*Francis Mason – WQXR-FM, radio station of the New York Times)

The Nutcracker program sponsor is Marriott Raleigh City Center.
Media sponsor for Nutcracker is Capitol Broadcasting.

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