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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS FESTIVAL BALLET’S ‘THE NUTCRACKER AT IRVINE BARCLAY THEATER AND ‘NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS’

November 29, 2021

by Lydia E. Ringwald

There are many ‘Nutcracker’ productions, but one of the most delightful and enchanting this Season is Festival Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at Irvine Barclay Theater with evening and matinee performances starting on December 11 continuing until
December 24.

Tchaikovsky’s sensational music is brought to life by world renown ballet artists and the artistically trained and talented dancers of Southland Ballet Academy on a stage with stunning new sets and fantasy fresh costumes and props.

Festival Ballet dancers also offer ‘Nutcracker for Kids’, a mini-Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center’s Renee and Henry Segerstrom Hall on December 4 at 10 am. The 45 minute show with the Pacific Symphony captures the essence of the Tchaikovsky masterpiece for the delight of children and families.

‘The Nutcracker,’ a holiday highlight, but during the year Festival Ballet also offers a repertoire treasured classical ballet with full length productions of ‘Coppelia’, ‘Don Quixote’, ‘Giselle’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Swan Lake’.

The Festival Ballet Gala performance in August includes the unique dance artworks of innovative resident choreographies performed by international guest stars and Southland Ballet dancers.

Festival Ballet Theatre is a well-established nonprofit arts organization founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla. For nearly three decades Festival Ballet Theatre has continuously presented a complete ballet season with world-class artists in Southern California.

Festival Ballet’s educational outreach programs introduces the public to the historical art form of ballet, dance and musicality. Schoolchildren are bused to the Irvine Barclay Theatre for a live show in a theatre setting and discussions to promote dance appreciation among area youth through the “Invitation to Ballet” Program.

Festival Ballet offers free dance performances at public and private schools and at libraries, museums, and public events and collaborates with Pacific Symphony with a mini-performance of ‘The Nutcracker for Kids’ at Segerstrom Center.

The roster of events with famed ballet stars includes master classes for student protégés, receptions offering dancers and dance lovers the chance to connect and converse, and of course the dazzling display of dancers at their peak.

All of these use local dancers, enriching and enlivening the performing arts experience in the Southern California community,

During her professional dancing career, Ms. Rizkalla, trained in the Russian Vaganova method, graced the stage in leading roles in well-known classical ballets as well as contemporary pieces, tutored by world-renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky and Serge Lifar.

Ms. Rizkalla completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, established Southland Ballet Academy in 1983 and debuted Festival Ballet Theatre in 1988. Many arts organizations have recognized her service as a dedicated educator, an energetic promoter of the arts, and an active participant in the cultural life of her community.

Assisting her are Elizabeth Farmen, UC Irvine School of Dance graduate and Ballet Mistress Hanna Przyludzka-Karacic trained in Europe. With their guidance, students at Southland Ballet Academy learn poise, how to project passion, beauty and elegance while performing amazing and very demanding physical feats.

The Southland Ballet Academy trained dancers and performers in Festival Ballet have been selected to join the top professional international ballet companies the magnitude of San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater and stars from these companies are invited to preform in Festival Ballet productions.

Festival Ballet’s Southland Ballet Academy offers a Summer Intensive that attracts students from all over the world. Designed for male and female dancers, ages 11 to 20, Southland Ballet’s Summer Intensive is dedicated to excellence in training the aspiring professional dancer in ballet technique, pointe, variations, contemporary, jazz, character, pilates and pas de deux.

During this extensive program, students, divided into professional, advanced and intermediate levels, are offered the rare opportunity to benefit under the guidance and expertise of internationally known Ballet Masters.

Classes are presented in a positive, creative atmosphere by professional dance instructors who understand the intricacies of dance that will increase skill and confidence of the young dancer.

Throughout the years, Southland Ballet Academy students have received scholarships – summer intensive programs as well as ongoing studies – from American Ballet Theatre (National Scholars), Dutch National Ballet Academy, Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Princess Grace Academy in Monaco, Royal Ballet School (full year-round scholarships), San Francisco Ballet, Washington Ballet, and numerous others.

Students have been invited to perform in productions and gala programs with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Royal Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet, and Youth America Grand Prix.

Southland Ballet Academy graduates have been accepted – with scholarships – to top academic universities and have won top honors and grand prizes in prestigious national and international ballet competitions and consistently receive significant honors and awards.

Festival Ballet Theatre is passionate about its role in keeping the arts in Southern California alive and thriving with a Season each year that includes more than 20 performances at the Irvine Barclay Theatre: “The Nutcracker” in December and two full-length ballet productions, and the International Ballet Festival: Gala of the Stars.

Festival Ballet performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ start with matinee and evening performances December 11 and run until December 24. Visit the Irvine Barclay Theater website: www.thebarclay.org for further information, tickets and performance dates.
Dates for star performances are on the Festival Ballet website – www.festivalballet.org

 

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