Coming Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 is everyone’s holiday dance favorite – The Nutcracker. The ballet originated in Russia in 1892 and became a holiday offering in the U.S. starting in the 1950s. During the past decade, the ballet has spread around the world. The Classical Ballet brings a world of dancers to the production with its 30 company members from Japan, Cuba, Taiwan, South Korea, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, and throughout the U.S. The popular ballet, choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, takes place during a holiday night when the girl, Clara, is taken on a dreamlike journey by the Nutcracker Prince where they meet mouse soldiers, a rat king, and dancing sugarplums.
“It takes you away from real life and is a wonderful introduction for children to classical music and dance,” said
Radenko Pavlovich, Classical Ballet Artistic Director.
Performances are at the Koger Center for the Arts and take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1; and 3 p.m. Dec. 2; with performances for school groups at 10 a.m. Nov. 29 and 30.
Each year the company invites dancers from acclaimed dance groups around the nation for LifeChance: International Gala of Stars. Lifechance serves up an amazing sampling of dance from classic to modern. In the past, the Classical Ballet has hosted dancers from the Boston Ballet, the Washington Ballet, the Houston Ballet and others. The performance, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m, will raise money for The Free Medical Clinic of Columbia.
Last year for its 20th anniversary, the Columbia Classical Ballet mounted the first full production of Swan Lake that had been on Columbia stages in two decades. Like The Nutcracker, Swan Lakewas a collaboration among Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The revered and beloved ballet tells the story of Princess Odette, who has been transformed into a swan by an evil magician. During a temporary transformation back into human form, Odette falls in love with Prince Siegfried, but their love is doomed. The performance is March 1 at 7:30 p.m.
The company will round out the season with an educational outreach performance of its original take on The Wizard of Oz at 10 a.m. March 1. Created by Simone Cuttino, company choreographer, it tells the well-known story of Dorothy and her companions searching for the things they think they need in a magical land.
Guiding the company through two decades has been artistic director Radenko Pavlovich. He came to Columbia after studies in his native Yugoslavia and Russia, and a career that took him from Great Britain to South America and the United States. He founded the Classical Ballet in 1991 with the company gaining professional status in 1998.
For more information, visit the Columbia Classical Ballet website at columbiaclassicalballet.org.