Cincinnati Ballet Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker

Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan enlists talents of Venus Villa, Rolando Sarabia and special performers from Elementz hip-hop studio

Download the 1415 Nutcracker Press Release

Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker returns for its 40th Anniversary December 19 through 27 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s sensational score, conducted by Maestro Carmon DeLeone. The holiday favorite, presented since 1974, saw a re-envisioning in a 2011 world premiere, with new sets by John Ezell, costumes by Carrie Robbins, lighting by Trad A Burns and choreography by Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan.

Frisch’s and Cincinnati Ballet have a long history of collaborating to present the spectacular production, dating back to the first Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker in 1974. Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. championed that production through a generous donation and has sponsored the production every subsequent year, for 40 years. Frisch’s relationship with Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker has never wavered, and they have been revered in the community as long standing advocates for the arts in Cincinnati.

International ballet dancers Venus Villa and Rolando Sarabia will be joining Cincinnati Ballet for several weeks this December to perform in The Nutcracker. Both Villa and Sarabia have enjoyed distinguished careers that have allowed them opportunities to dance all over the world. Villa is originally from Cuba and has danced with the Royal Ballet, the English National Ballet and Vienna Staatsoper Ballet. Sarabia, also from Cuba, is a gold medal winner at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as multiple other international competitions. They will be dancing the roles of the Snow King and Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier for select performances. Villa and Sarabia join us from Rome where they most recently appeared as guest artists with the Rome Opera Ballet in Don Quixote.

“It is exciting to have artists with us who have performed with major international ballet companies and who have a long history of guest performing the major classical works in Europe, Russia and South America,” says Victoria Morgan, Artisitic Director & CEO.

In celebration of its 40th Anniversary, Morgan has also invited four talented dancers from Elementz hip-hop studio to be featured as Mice in the battle scene of The Nutcracker. Elementz recently wowed audiences when they were invited to choreograph and perform their own piece in Cincinnati Ballet’s Kaplan New Works Series earlier this season, creating a unique juxtaposition of top ballet dancers performing on the same stage as Cincinnati’s number one hip-hop company. Morgan worked previously with Elementz resident choreographer Derrek Burbridge during the creation of King Arthur’s Camelot, to bring “fluidity and an edge” says Morgan, to the character of the villain Mordred.

Founded in 2001, Elementz operates under the principle of using hip-hop to help inner-city youth find their creative voices and provide an outlet for that creativity, while encouraging personal growth and life successes. Elementz is led by executive director Tom Kent, creative director Abdullah Powell and a dedicated staff of creative professionals.

The Nutcracker is the beloved holiday story of Clara, a little girl who embarks on a thrilling journey with her Nutcracker Prince through the Land of Sweets, meeting colorful and exciting characters along the way.


Nutcracker Performance Hosts, chaired by Amy DeWitt and Halle Quinn, are new to Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker in 2014. This year you have the opportunity to become a Performance Host and receive an all-access pass to experience The Nutcracker in VIP-style. Choose a performance date and let Cincinnati Ballet treat you and your invited guests to valet parking, a scrumptious family meal, “Land of Sweets” dessert bar, collectible Nutcracker gifts and memories to last a lifetime.  Plus, Performance Hosts receive exclusive benefits only available to sponsors such as a backstage tour, autographed gifts and sponsor recognition.

Cincinnati Ballet invites ticket holders to a pre-show conversation with select dancers, choreographers and designers who bring The Nutcracker to life at 6:30 pm on December 19.

The Sugar Plum Parade is an exciting opportunity for Tuesday, December 23 and Friday, December 26 matinee ticket holders to experience The Nutcracker from the stage itself. Audience members are invited to walk across the stage following the performance, getting a chance to see sets, costumes and dancers up close.

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