The Nutcracker story has been represented on screen, in print and in children’s theater productions, but there is nothing like a grand ballet – with hundreds of colorful costumes, enormous sets, and glorious dancing to ring in the holidays with style. Set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, Saint Louis Ballet presents its extravagant holiday production with a mix of traditional and new elements December 14-23.
On Wednesday, December 19 only, Saint Louis Ballet presents a shorter, “no-shushing” performance for families with very young children or teens/adults with limited attention spans. Narrated by Radio Arts Foundation’s Tom Sudholt, the production features the same high-quality dancing and production values.
All performances take place at Touhill Performing Arts Center. The Nutcracker features the professional company dancers accompanied by students from the Saint Louis Ballet School as well as guest performers.
Under the direction of Gen Horiuchi, The Nutcracker has continued to grow in popularity over the years, and attract new audiences to the art form. Horiuchi, a former New York City Ballet principal dancer, performed many principal roles in the NYCB production during his 13 years there under the great George Balanchine.
Saint Louis Ballet’s The Nutcracker is sponsored by EMERSON.
WHAT: The Nutcracker – presented by Saint Louis Ballet
WHERE: Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, St. Louis (on the campus of UMSL)
WHEN: Special, narrated matinee for young children and those with shorter attention spans: 12/19 at 11:00am
Other performances — Evening performances: 12/14, 12/15, 12/19, 12/20, 12/21, 12/22, 12/23 at 7:30pm; Matinees:12/15, 12/16, 12/21, 12/22, 12/23 at 2:00pm
Special Event — Sugar Plum Fairy Luncheon: 12/15, 12/16 at 12:30pm
TICKETS: ($25) In person at the Touhill Box Office (1 University Drive), by phone (314.516.4949) or www.touhill.org.
Other performance tickets: ($26-$72) and Sugar Plum Fairy Luncheon ($38).
MORE ABOUT SAINT LOUIS BALLET AND THE NUTCRACKER:
The Nutcracker, with music by Peter Tchaikovsky, has become a holiday tradition in St. Louis. First performed in St. Petersburg, Russia more than 100 years ago, it is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Horuchi’s version, on the vast Touhill stage, incorporates spectacular effects such as glitter, smoke and pyrotechnics as well as new effects and choreography each year to make it more exciting for audiences.
Saint Louis Ballet is the region’s only professional ballet company. Under the direction of former New York City Ballet principal dancer Gen Horiuchi, its classically trained dancers are selected in a competitive national audition and come to St. Louis from training programs and ballet companies throughout the world. The company’s repertoire includes full-length ballets such as Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote and Cinderella as well as contemporary work from renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, Christopher d’Amboise, Jessica Lang and Michael Uthoff. The new “GO” series kicked off last season, showcasing Saint Louis Ballet in Grand Center in an informal, smaller, venue.Saint Louis Ballet also operates a ballet training program and a community outreach program.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Gen Horiuchi has been the artistic director of the Saint Louis Ballet Company and School since 2000. He has created over 20 original works for the company and has spearheaded the growth of the school based in Chesterfield. Raised in Tokyo, Japan by parents who were professional ballet dancers, he won the prestigious Prix de Lausanne, the international ballet competition in Switzerland in 1980 (and since 1993 has been a judge for the competition). He then received a scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet. In 1982, he was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet, where he became a principal dancer in 1989. He’s danced on Broadway in Song and Danceand was also Mr. Mistoffelees in the musical Cats, both on Broadway and in London’s West End. He choreographed the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan in 1998. In 2004, he was honored in New York City with the Seventh Cultural Bridge Award together with Harold Prince, (director of Phantom of the Opera). He has directed the Aoyama Ballet Festival in Tokyo with artists in major companies from around the world. And since 2010, he has been directing Gen Horiuchi’s Ballet USA each summer in Osaka, Japan where he sets his own choreography on professional dancers and brings guests like Miyako Yoshida, former Royal Ballet principal, to dance alongside him to sold-out houses.