Cincinnati Ballet has been invited to present seven performances of The Nutcracker at the famed John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., November 23 through 27, with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s sensational holiday score.
“To be invited to perform at the Kennedy Center is a great honor for any ballet company, and I am thrilled to be bringing our Nutcracker to new and national audiences. This will certainly be a celebratory Thanksgiving holiday for Cincinnati Ballet,” comments Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director & CEO of Cincinnati Ballet and choreographer of Cincinnati Ballet’s Nutcracker.
Scott Altman, new Executive Director of Cincinnati Ballet, comments, “Cincinnati Ballet is truly an iconic American ballet company. These Kennedy Center performances are a testament to the outstanding talent of our artistic leadership, our fantastic dancers, our hard-working staff and our loyal supporters. We are proud to be putting Cincinnati on the map, in our nation’s capital.”
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy. The Center continues its efforts to fulfill President Kennedy’s vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of world-class plays and musicals, dance and ballet, orchestral, operatic, chamber, jazz, popular, world, Hip Hop and folk music, comedy, international festivals, special events, and multi-media performances for all ages. The Center also nurtures new works and emerging artists, commissioning and creating performances, broadcasts, and touring productions while serving the nation as a leader in arts education. The nine theaters and stages of the Center attract audiences annually totaling three million to more than 3,000 performances, annually; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 40 million more.
Each year the Kennedy Center selects one esteemed ballet company to present their unique version of the cherished holiday tradition The Nutcracker. In recent years, renowned American ballet companies including The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet West and American Ballet Theatre have been invited to perform their unique interpretations of The Nutcracker, and now Cincinnati Ballet joins that list.
These prestigious performances are perfectly timed with Victoria Morgan’s 20th Season with Cincinnati Ballet. Since she joined the company in 1997, Cincinnati Ballet has grown exponentially including expanded artistic programming, educational outreach programming, the Otto M. Budig Academy, and increased ticket sales and fundraising results. Morgan is one of very few female Artistic Directors in the ballet world; she is currently one of five women leading U.S. ballet companies with operating budgets of $5 million or more.
The Nutcracker is the beloved holiday story of Clara, a little girl who embarks on a fantastical journey with her Nutcracker Prince through the Land of Sweets, meeting colorful and exciting characters along the way. Cincinnati Ballet’s version of the production was recently re-envisioned and premiered in 2011, with fresh and engaging choreography by Victoria Morgan, new sets and scenic design by John Ezell, costumes by Carrie Robbins and lighting by Trad A Burns.
Morgan’s rendition of the classical ballet is filled with unique, contemporary twists on longstanding traditions: from the bright, whimsical sets, stage effects and acrobatics to the appearance of new, playful characters such as Clara’s companion, a pet poodle named Minnie, dancing Cupcakes, tumbling Snowballs, an ensemble of poodles performing the Dance of the Mirlitons (or “Mirlipoos”) and more. After the debut of this version of the Nutcracker in 2011, David Lyman of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote, “The Nutcracker is now a 21st Century spectacle; bright, high-tech and filled with imagery.”
The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra will perform live with Cincinnati Ballet, conducted by Cincinnati’s own Maestro Carmon DeLeone; dozens of local D.C.-area children will join the professional Cincinnati Ballet dancers onstage, and members of the D.C.-metropolitan area Arlington Children’s Chorus will lend their voices to the Snow Scene.
While in Washington, D.C. for the holiday weekend, the company will take part in special activities such as a bus tour of the city, a Thanksgiving dinner, after parties and more. Cincinnati Ballet has created a selection of packages for Cincinnati Ballet supporters who wish to travel to D.C. to share in the celebration, details are available at cballet.org. To purchase single tickets, visit www.kennedy-center.org.
Following the Kennedy Center tour, Cincinnati Ballet returns to present twelve hometown performances of Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker, December 9 through 18 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Tickets for the Cincinnati performances are on sale now at cballet.org, via phone at 513-621-5282, or at the Cincinnati Ballet box office at 1555 Central Parkway.