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From Russia with Love

Moscow Ballet Company returns with beloved holiday classic

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 12:23 p.m. CDT

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It’s November, and that means the beginning of the holiday season. One of the highlights is the annual suburban performance of the Great Russian Nutcracker by the prestigious Moscow Ballet.

The Moscow Ballet production, known for its whimsical fantasy with Russian flair, is a unique telling of the classic story of Masha (Clara) and her Nutcracker Doll. It pairs Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Nutcracker Suite” with Moscow Ballet’s company of 40 Vaganova-trained dancers. The 2013 production includes 200 all new, hand-embellished costumes designed by Shakespearean expert Arthur Oliver and created in St Petersburg’s oldest theatrical costume shop.

The ballet is a beloved tradition for theatre-goers, but one group of young suburban dancers will have the best seat in the house – a chance to perform onstage at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont with esteemed members of the Moscow troupe.

About 60 local children were selected from an open audition process overseen by members of the Moscow Ballet’s artistic team and Altin Naska, international choreographer and artistic director of the Southport Performing Arts Conservatory.

Children play an important part in this time-honored holiday classic,” says Naska. “The opportunity to dance with professionals in such a high-profile holiday event creates a lifetime of indelible memories for young dancers.”

Moscow Ballet’s “Dance with Us” program sends soloists Svetlana Todinova, Natalia Miroshnyk, Carolina Siscanu and Ekaterina Uksusnikova to cities on the 2013 tour in September and October. In each city, the soloists audition young local dancers for roles that are exclusive to children and work with them in rehearsal. 

Local dancers for this season’s performance include Kaya Michalska-Ganko and Elizabeth Kokaska of Naperville; Lilly Hall Risor of Romeoville

Alexandra Petzke, Aurora. Last year’s performance included dancers from Darien, Hinsdale, Lemont and Bolingbrook. Some young dancers return to the production year after year.

“It is amazing how quickly the children that have been performing for the third or fourth year in a row can pick up other roles,” he said. “Each year I found the dancers are more than prepared to dance with the professional come show time.”

Since 1993 Moscow Ballet’s “Dance with Us” program has benefitted young ballet students giving them the rare opportunity of auditioning, rehearsing, and performing with a professional and internationally touring ballet company.

The performance takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 8. For groups of ten or more, call 800-320-1733. For tickets go to www.nutcracker.com. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster and range in price from $26 to $86.50, excluding tax and handling fees. To purchase tickets, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

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