Some­thing old, some­thing new: The Nutcracker

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

Aspen Santa Fe Bal­let may be known for its cut­ting-edge chore­og­ra­phy, but its Nutcracker is old school — with a few con­tem­po­rary twists. Anna Ger­berich — who will be al­ter­nat­ing in the role of Sug­arplum Fairy with Jenelle Fig­gins — joined ASFB af­ter serv­ing a num­ber of years as prin­ci­pal dancer with the Char­lotte Bal­let in North Carolina and, most re­cently, as a mem­ber of the Jof­frey Bal­let com­pany in Chicago. When she per­forms the part in Santa Fe, it will be ex­actly the same as it was in Chicago, be­cause both com­pa­nies have based it on the chore­og­ra­phy cre­ated by Mar­ius Petipa for the 1892 pre­miere of the bal­let at the Mari­in­sky Theatre in St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia.

Other tra­di­tional el­e­ments in the AFSB Nutcracker in­clude the score by Tchaikovsky and the story — of a lit­tle girl’s awak­en­ing to wom­an­hood af­ter a Christ­mas party turns into a dream and a toy nutcracker morphs into a hand­some prince. In ad­di­tion to the elab­o­rate sets and cos­tumes, a cast of nine ad­di­tional bal­leri­nas, a half-dozen char­ac­ter dancers — in­clud­ing fla­menco, Rus­sian, Chi­nese, and cir­cus artists — and the giddy pres­ence of 150 young dancers drawn from the com­pany’s bal­let school in Santa Fe turn the pro­duc­tion into a gen­uine ex­trav­a­ganza. Join­ing the cast this year is a Santa Fe fa­vorite, fla­menco dancer La Emi, as well as Hsin-Ping Chang, who was re­cently lead dancer in a Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera pro­duc­tion of Madame But­ter­fly.

The Nutcracker takes to the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter stage (211 W. San Francisco St.) at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Satur­day, Dec. 17, and at 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18. Tick­ets ($36-$94) are avail­able by vis­it­ing www.tick­ or call­ing 505-988-1234.

— Michael Wade Simp­son

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