The familiar strains of Tchaikovsky, the wonderful costumes and sets, the brilliant dancing and staging of this wonderful holiday classic will soon be making its short but highly anticipated stop in Cleveland.
Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will return to Cleveland to perform the beloved Christmas classic, Nutcracker, from December 8-11 in PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre. Nutcracker is presented by Fifth Third Bank.
Nutcrackerhas become a beloved family tradition during the holiday season as it shepherds in the Christmas spirit with family and friends and conjures up memories of Christmas past and present. Set in 1913, young Clara dreams of a magical world that enchants and delights with dancing snowflakes, battling mice and a mischievous bear. Nutcracker is a celebration of culture, family, music and above all, dance that speaks to the child in everyone.
Performed under the artistic direction of André Lewis, Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker is co-choreographed by Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon. Original scenic design is by Brian Perchaluk and original costume designs are by Paul Daigle. Lighting Design is by Michael J. Whitfield. Of special note to Clevelanders is the fact that several local children will be cast in a number of roles for this production.
Nutcracker began with Nussknacker and Mausekonig (Nutcracker and the King of Mice), a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. With music by composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the original ballet version called Casse-Noisette was choreographed in 1882 initially by Marius Petipa and taken over by Lev Ivanov after Petipa fell ill. The first production was performed at the Mariinsky Theatre. The first full-length production performed in North America was premiered in 1944 by the San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by Willam Christensen. Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed a two-act versionthat contributed to the Nutcracker’s success on this side of the Atlantic. In 1954, George Balanchine unveiled his version with the New York City Ballet and a Christmas tradition began.
In 1999, Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon choreographed the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s current version of Nutcracker (the Company had been performing John Neumeier’s version since 1972). This December marks the tenth year that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has performed the Yordanova/Menon version (performed every year other than in 2006 when the show took a hiatus for Peter Pan).
Amanda Green-Clara, Russian Dancer-Born just outside Edmonton in Tofield, Alberta, Amanda Green began her dance training with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division at the age of ten. While a student, she received numerous awards including the Royal Bank of Canada Scholarship, the Arnold Spohr Award, The Prince Edward Scholarship, among others. Green graduated from the Harid Conservatory where she earned the Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship.
Green joined the RWB in 2004 as an apprentice and moved up the ranks in the Company to soloist. Since joining the RWB she has danced various roles including La Goulue in Moulin Rouge® –The Ballet, Fairy Godmother in Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, Clara in Nutcracker and Tiger Lily/Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan. In Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute Green performed the role of a Glamazon, a role that she took to the big screen for the 2006 film version of the ballet titled The Tale of the Magic Flute.
A major milestone in her career as a dancer was performing the iconic lead dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She also had a role created for her in Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmen, The Passion and was the lead of four dancers who performed the Caterpillarin the world premiere of Wonderland. Green’s other repertoire includesIn the Upper Room, Carmina Burana, In Tandem, Dracula, Angels in the Architecture, The Messiah, The Sleeping Beauty, Hikarizatto and As Above, So Below.
Green has also performed internationally. In 2006, she had the opportunity to participate in the Jackson International Ballet Competition and has been a guest dancer in Japan. Dance International featured Green as one of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s up-and-coming dancers in the magazine’s summer 2008 issue. In fall 2009, she was hand selected by acclaimed choreographer Peter Quanz to perform a new piece called In Tandem at the prestigious Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Along with the RWB, she danced before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad.
Jo-Ann Sundermeier-Josephine (Clara’s Aunt), Russian Dancer, Clara (Understudy)-Born in Pompano Beach, Florida, Jo-Ann Sundermeier began her dance training with Liana Navarro in Miami when she was eight years old. She came to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 1997 and graduated in 2002. While a student she received the Prince Edward Award, the School’s most prestigious scholarship.
Sundermeier made her professional debut with the RWB in 2002, dancing in Nutcracker. During the 2003/04 season she became an apprentice with the Company, and has moved her way up the ranks to soloist. Sundermeier’s first lead role with the RWB was Tinkerbell in Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan. For the 2009/10 season she was given the opportunity to play the demanding, dueling roles of Odette/Odile from the quintessential ballet Swan Lake. She also danced as La Goulue, a role created on her for Moulin Rouge® –The Ballet by choreographer Jorden Morris.
Other roles Sundermeier has danced include the Grand pas de Deux from Nutcracker, Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty, Russian Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Second Violin in Concerto Barocco, andthe Fairy Godmother in Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story. Her other repertoire includes Romeo & Juliet, Raymonda, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Toer van Schayk’s Seventh Symphony, Mark Godden’s Dracula andAngels in the Architecture, Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana, Itzik Galili’s Hikarizatto, and Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments.
Sundermeier has been a featured company dancer at Ballet in the Park, performing a mixed repertoire including the principal role in the technically challenging Paquita. Sundermeier also danced a variation from the same ballet for His Royal Highness, Prince Edward. She was also the feature Spotlight cover story for the 2010 fall issue of Winnipeg Women’s Magazine.
Along with the RWB Company, Sundermeier performed in Mark Godden’s As Above, So Below before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad. In the fall of 2009, Sundermeier was hand selected by acclaimed choreographer Peter Quanz to perform a new piece called In Tandem at the prestigious Guggenheim Museum in New York City. She was invited to join Quanz’s project based company Q Dance for its 2010 debut.
Sundermeier values every challenge and opportunity that is given to her, and enjoys pushing herself to the limit. In May 2011, she was invited to perform as part of the RWB School’s Professional Division’s 40th anniversary celebration where she performed the lead role in Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony. This season she is looking forward to performing in Giselle.
Dmitri Dovgoselets-The Nutcracker Prince, Fritz-Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Dmitri Dovgoselets began dancing at age ten. He trained at The School of Ukrainian Dance and at The National Ballet School of Ukraine. At 18, Dovgoselets joined The National Ballet of Ukraine in Kiev, where he danced for two seasons. In 1996, he performed in Nutcracker with Kiev’s Classical Ballet for a one-month tour of Japan. In 1997, he danced on a Canadian Nutcracker tour with The National Ballet of Ukraine and Shumka Ukrainian Dancers. Dovgoselets joined Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet as an apprentice in 1998. He was promoted to soloist for the 2005/06 season.
Dovgoselets’ dance list is extensive. He has danced the pas de six in Giselle, Mercutio in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet and Arthur Holmwood in Mark Godden’s Dracula. He has been featured in Prince Desire and Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, the Prince in the Nutcracker, Monostatos in Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute, Peter in Peter Panand Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge – The Ballet®. His other accomplishments include the pas de trois in Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Vesak’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, Kylian’s Symphony in D, Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana, Nina Menon’s La Soif and Itzik Galili’s Hikarizatto.
Dovgoselets also participated in filming The Tale of the Magic Flute, the made for television version of Godden’s ballet, for which the cast was awarded a Gemini Award for ‘Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program’ in 2006. In 2008 he performed Belong with Principal Dancer Tara Birtwhistle at the Gala des Etoiles. He performed before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad. As part of the British Monarchy’s Royal visit to Canada last summer, Dovgoselets performed a pas de deux with former RWB dancer Maureya Lebowitz under the watchful eye of Queen Elizabeth II. Dmitri is also father to two year old Isabella.
Harrison James-Friend of Clara, Waltz of the Flowers and Pas de Quatre Dancer, Nutcracker Prince (Understudy)-Harrison James was born in New Zealand and started his ballet training with a local ballet studio at the age of five. Since then he has trained in two major dance schools, the New Zealand School of Dance and the San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program. Here, as well as at the ballet program in the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival he received training from the likes of Jean-Yves Esquerre, Parrish Maynard, Anna-Marie Holmes, Amanda McKerrow, Adam Sklute and Nikolaj Hubbe. During these years he has performed a variety of works including Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Tomasson’s 7 for Eight Pas de Deux and Sleeping Beauty.
James has also performed with the San Francisco Ballet as a student in Helgi’s own Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Nutcracker, John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert.
Since joining the RWB in 2010 James has risen through the ranks to First Soloist, an honor awarded to him early in the 2011/12 season. In his first season with the company he danced roles in Dracula, Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, In the Upper Room, In Tandem and Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet. He also had the opportunity to perform the role of White Rabbit in Shawn Hounsell’s Wonderland. Most recently James was selected to dance the title role in RWB’s new creation, Svengali, by renowned director Mark Godden.
Serena Sandford-Sugar Plum Fairy (8m, 8e, 9 and 10e), Arabian Dancer, Friend of Clara and Clara’s Mother (Understudy)-Hailing from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Serena Sandford studied at the Edmonton School of Ballet and then joined the RWB School Professional Division at the age of 15. While a student, she received the Royal Bank of Canada Scholarship and the Esso Kids Award of Excellence. In 2002 she graduated with Distinction from the School.
Sandford made her professional debut with The National Ballet of Canada in 2003 performing in The Nutcracker and Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty. She also performed in the Banff Festival Dance in 2002 and 2003.
In 2004/05, Sandford joined the RWB as a member of the corps de ballet and last season was promoted to second soloist. In 2006, Sandford premiered the role of Liza for the world premiere of Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan. Sandford was also featured in the role of the Dark Angel in Balanchine’s Serenade and as a guest starring Company dancer in Ballet in the Park 2007, performing the Lilac Fairy in the The Sleeping Beauty. Sandford has also enjoyed performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker the past few seasons. Sandford has recently begun dancing lead roles, first as Nancy in Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story and last season as Mina Murray in Mark Godden’s Dracula.
Other repertoire that she has performed with the RWB include Romeo & Juliet, Wonderland, The Magic Flute, Angels in the Architecture, Moulin Rouge – The Ballet® and the ever classic Swan Lake. Along with the RWB, she has also performed Itzik Galili’s Hikarizatto and Mark Godden’s As Above, So Below before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad.
Carrie Broda-Clara’s Mother, Arabian Dancer and Sugar Plum Fairy (10m, 11m)-Born in Melville, Saskatchewan and raised in Regina, Carrie Broda began her dance training at Myers Dance Centre. She trained professionally at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, graduating from the Professional Division in 1996. While still in the RWB School, Broda made her professional debut in the Company’s 1994 production of Swan Lake.
Broda joined the RWB as an apprentice in 1998 and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2000. For the 2006/07 she was promoted to second soloist. During her time with the RWB, Broda has been featured in many roles including Tiger Lily/Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan, Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy and The White Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, Flamingo in Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story and Don José’s Mother in Carmen, The Passion.
Other ballets in Broda’s classical repertoire include Giselle, Anna Karenina, Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake.Broda’s contemporary repertoire includes Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana, Shawn Hounsell’s Creaturehood, Mark Godden’sMiroirs, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, Symphony in D and Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco and Serenade.Broda was a featured Company dancer in Ballet in the Park 2006, where she performed Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading with Soloist Alexander Gamayunov. Along with the RWB troupe, she performed Itzik Galili’s Hikarizatto before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad.
This past season Broda performed in Dracula, Nutcracker, the world premiere of Wonderland, and in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room as part of the mix repertoire performance entitled Pure Ballet. She also toured with the Company to Israel and across Canada.
Galina Yordanovaworked with the RWB School and Company as a teacher and rehearsal mistress until June 2007. She has been particularly involved in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s productions of Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Act II, and The Sleeping Beauty.
Nina Menon was the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Resident Choreographer from 1998 to 2000. A former RWB dancer, Ms. Menon left the Company in 1995 to pursue choreography full-time. The ballets she has choreographed for the RWB include La Soif, Drunken Butterflies, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White and The Gitagovinda.
Ms. Menon recently re-choreographed sections of Nutcracker. This included revamping the first part of act two to include a group of adorable angels who Clara and the Prince encounter before they enter the Prince’s kingdom.
Cleveland audiences will be tapping their toes to Tchaikovsky’s memorable score before the curtain even goes up, as 46 local musicians perform the famous score live under the direction of Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Conductor, Tadeusz Biernacki.
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This performance engagement is a part of the Smart Seats program at PlayhouseSquare that offers smart entertainment at a smart price. For more information on Smart Seats, visit playhousesquare.org/smartseats.
Tickets are on-sale now and range in price from $10 – $80 each. To purchase tickets, call (216) 241-6000, log on to PlayhouseSquare.org or visit the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Special discounts are offered for groups of 15 or more. Please call the Group Sales Department at (216) 664-6050 x1 for more information.
Public Performance Schedule:
Thursday, December 8 at 7 p.m.
Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
PlayhouseSquare is a not-for-profit performing arts center whose mission is presenting and producing a wide variety of quality performing arts, advancing arts education and creating a theater district that is a superior location for entertainment, business and housing, thereby strengthening the economic vitality of the region.