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Pennsylvania Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ delights audiences in its 42nd Holiday Season

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Every year I see this ballet, and every year I am still astounded by the George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is surprising and delighting the Philadelphia audience for it’s 42nd year.beauty and magic that surround this wonderful Christmas performance. This year’s show on opening weekend was sensational and the company has never worked harder. Back on the stage at the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is surprising and delighting the Philadelphia audience for it’s 42nd year.

Pennsylvania Ballet’s Nutcracker is performed the world over with the same steps everywhere, and this holiday tradition never fails to inspire joy.

The original premiere of the Nutcracker was February 2, 1954 by the New York City Ballet. This ballet has copyrighted choreography, so wherever you see Nutcracker, it will have the same moves. This Nutcracker always uses children to play the parts of children as opposed to other ballets where adults cover the roles of children. The dancers in the PA Ballet company dance their hearts out with each and every note of music and you can tell they are having a wonderful time. The orchestra, playing Peter Tchaikovsky and led by Conductor Salvatore Scarpa, performed beautifully, with each note clear and concise. The Philadelphia Boys Choir adds their angelic voices to complement the orchestra.

As for the new features this year, the famous tree onstage tree has had an upgrade, with shiny new LED lights to dazzle at the audience. The set, designed by Peter Horne, always makes me smile with its gorgeous backdrop and colorful scenery.

There were many children at this performance, and it was great seeing the delight and wonder on their faces as they witness Marie’s (Maria Santangelo) handsome Nutcracker (Peter Weil) and his Calvary ht the Mouse King, after she receives the precious gift at her family’s Christmas Eve party. Her journey takes the audience through the Land of Snow, where dancing snowflakes welcome them.

The second act of the ballet takes Marie and her Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets, where candy, coffee, tea, candy canes and the Sugarplum Fairy (Arantxa Ochoa) and her Cavalier (Ian Hussey) dance a romantic pas de deux before Marie and her prince sail away into the night.

This graceful Christmas ballet will put you in the holiday spirit no matter how bah-humbug you are feeling!

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ performances at the Academy of Music:

Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m.*, 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 12 at noon and 4 p.m.

Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 18 at 11 a.m.*, 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 19 at noon* and 4 p.m.

Thursday, December 23 at 2 p.m.*

Friday, December 24 at noon

Sunday, December 26 at noon and 4 p.m.

Monday, December 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tuesday, December 28 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, December 29 at 2 p.m.*

Thursday, December 30 at 2 p.m.*

Friday, December 31 at noon

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is presented by PNC Arts Alive.

PECO is a production sponsor of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.

The costumes and sets of Pennsylvania Ballet’s new production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ were made possible by major support from The William Penn Foundation  and Christa and Calvin Schmidt.

Pennsylvania Ballet’s 2010-2011 Season sponsors include The Omni Hotel at Independence Park, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Sporting Club at the Bellevue, and US Airways.

Pennsylvania Ballet receives support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

*$160 Nutcracker VIP Package are available at these performances. These include a Nutcracker souvenir book, a photo with the Sugarplum Fairy or Mouse King, 10% off purchases at our lobby gift shop, and special box seating for certain performances. To order, contact Arajua Backman at 215.587.6921 or abackman@paballet.org

Special Thanks to Marissa Montenegro at the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Nutcracker Pictures courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet, by Alexander Iziliaev.

Christine Tarlecki can be reached at engchik@comcast.net and on FaceBook,and at http://engchik.blogspot.com, and on Twitter under engchik.

-Prices range from $30 to $139. Tickets are available online at paballet.org, by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.