Wednesday, December 1, 2010

See St. Raphael students in The Nutcracker

Students from St. Raphael Catholic School are performing in this year's presentation of The Nutcracker, the traditional Christmas ballet. All parishioners are invited to attend the show.

The students include Abby Fahey, Selma Henricksson, Skyler Krampitz, Mariana Monforte, Stella Monforte and Mia Newsom. They have spent many hours rehearsing for their performances.

The Nutcracker will be presented Dec. 9-11 by the St. Petersburg Ballet Company and the Academy of Ballet Arts at the Historic Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Proceeds benefit the Academy of Ballet Arts. Tickets can be purchased online at the Academy of Ballet Arts or at the door.

The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet originally staged in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892. It features the music of composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky (left), whose well known works are favorites of classical concertgoers everywhere.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a little girl’s dream on the night before Christmas.

In it, gingerbread soldiers battle mice led by the Mouse King. Toy soldiers and dolls come alive to enter the fray, the Nutcracker is transformed into a Handsome Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy dances and sweets from around the world delight the senses.

Though it was not very popular when it was first performed, The Nutcracker gained considerable attention and following after the renowned choreographer George Balanchine staged it in New York in 1954. (Balanchine also was from St. Petersburg, Russia.)

Music from The Nutcracker has been used in television commercials from Cadbury, IHOP, GMC Sierra, Garmin GPS, and Planters Mr. Peanut. Movies such as Home Alone and The Santa Clause, and TV programs like The Simpsons and numerous other animated shows have featured music from The Nutcracker, too.

Alastair Macauley, dance critic for The New York Times, called The Nutcracker “an American institution.”

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