Arts & Entertainment

Inland Pacific Ballet Presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Nov.28-29

Nicole Gavin as Clara and Eric Shah as Drosselmeyer.  – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Nicole Gavin as Clara and Eric Shah as Drosselmeyer. – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Spectacular Holiday Tradition Returns to the San Gabriel Valley

Critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet (IPB) brings The Nutcracker to life with dazzling sets complete with falling snow, an antique original Albany Flyer One Horse Open Sleigh, a 40-foot Chinese Dragon, beautiful costumes handmade in-house at IPB’s costume department, and a cast of 80 dancers. New to this year’s production is a completely re-choreographed Snow Scene for an expanded cast of 20 and a brand new lighting design. IPB’s Nutcracker will have 12 performances (plus five educational outreach performances) in four theaters from Nov. 28 through Dec. 20, 2015, at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center, Pomona College’s Bridges Auditorium, Riverside’s Fox Performing Arts Center, and Lewis Family Playhouse in Rancho Cucamonga.

Consider these exciting tidbits:

-IPB’s youngest dancers are six years old. Typically the six- and seven-year-olds take on the role of the Bon Bons.

-This year the role of Clara will be shared by IPB Academy Trainees Lauren Collett and Emily Baggarly, both 14 years old and attendees of prestigious Summer Intensive programs in New York City – Emily at American Ballet Theatre, and Lauren at the New York City Ballet.

-This year’s Nutcracker Ballet Master is Clinton Rothwell, What makes Clinton stand out is that not only does he have a terrific resume (dancer with Royal Opera Ballet, principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Holland, and National Ballet of Canada), but he’s also real biker dude, who rides up to the ballet studio on his Harley.

-IPB Principal Dancer, the exquisite Meilu Zhai of Montclair, will reign over the Kingdom of Sweets as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Meilu is a former dancer with the National Ballet of China and returns for her fourth season with IPB. Also returning is IPB Principal Dancer Cameron Schwanz of Corona, who will dance as the Cavalier and the Nutcracker. Cameron is a thrilling dancer who returned to southern California three years ago to join IPB as the Beast for its premiere of Beauty and the Beast. IPB Principal Dancer Jonathan Sharp as Drosselmeyer returns for a seventh season with IPB and brings an extensive resume of dancing professionally with the Boston and Pennsylvania Ballet companies, and appearances in original casts of five Broadway shows.

Sugar Plum Fairies. – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Sugar Plum Fairies. – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

This annual holiday favorite tells the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve, and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. A fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. A dazzling holiday tradition for the entire family, see it again or for the first time and be swept away in a winter wonderland.

“We are thrilled to again take our wonderful production on tour to four beautiful southern California theaters. As always, The Nutcracker showcases our key Company Principals and Soloists who are in top form,” said Artistic Director Victoria Koenig. “Cameron Schwanz (Cavalier) and Meilu Zhai (Sugar Plum Fairy) are extraordinary. They really honed their partnership in Beauty and the Beast last spring and are a joy to watch.  We look forward each year to enhancing the show to surprise our audiences and this year is no exception. We’re re-choreographing the Snow Scene for 20 dancers, which is fun and inspiring for the dancers, and I think will make for an exciting new addition. We also have a brand new lighting design. Our fans who return year after year really look forward to these fun changes to the choreography and production values.”

Choreography for The Nutcracker is by Laurence Blake and Victoria Koenig; Scenic Design by Nancy Seruto and Daniel C. Nyiri; Costume Design by Jeanne Nolden; Brand new Lighting Design by Joseph Walls; and Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

IPB is a professional ballet company based in the Inland Empire of Southern California since 1994. The Company is committed to producing exquisitely staged productions of full-length classic story ballets as well as presenting the best in contemporary choreography. Their large studio facility in Montclair also includes in-house costume and scenic departments. In addition, through creative marketing and an extensive Educational Outreach Program, IPB strives to introduce new audiences to the magic of ballet, and to make the experience more available and accessible to all. For students pre-school through grade 12 enrolled in public, private and home schools, IPB offers “A Young Person’s Guide to the Ballet,” connecting the arts to learning through music and movement with five educational outreach performances scheduled for The Nutcracker. The Company is also committed to the nurturing of new talent and provides an essential training ground for serious young dancers.

Toy Scene.  –Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Toy Scene. –Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Details for Inland Pacific Ballet’s The Nutcracker

What:  The Nutcracker
Critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet’s The Nutcracker comes to life in this magnificent holiday ballet with dazzling sets, beautiful costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. This annual yuletide favorite tells the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve, and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. IPB’s The Nutcracker is the holiday tradition your family will treasure!

Who:
• Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
• Choreography by Laurence Blake and Victoria Koenig
• Scenic Design by Nancy Seruto and Daniel C. Nyiri
• Costume Design by Jeanne Nolden
• Lighting Design by Greta Welsh

When/Where:
Arcadia Performing Arts Center, 188 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007

Saturday, November 28, 2015            7:30 pm
Sunday, November 29, 2015              2:00 pm
Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 North College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Saturday, December 5, 2015              2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 6, 2015                2:00 pm
Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Saturday, December 12, 2015            2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 13, 2015              2:00 pm
Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Friday, December 18, 2015                7:30 pm
Saturday, December 19, 2015            2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 20, 2015              2:00 pm

Information & Tickets:  IPBALLET.org; tickets from $38 with senior/child/group discounts available.

Dragon from the Chinese dance scene. – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

Dragon from the Chinese dance scene. – Photo Copyright © 2014 E. Y. Yanagi

November 18, 2015

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