Before you know it, Festival Ballet Theatre’s Gingersnaps will be popping out from Mother Ginger’s skirt, a bevy of Snow will be elegantly dancing across stage, and the iconic white-gowned Clara will be dreaming of her Nutcracker Prince.
FBT truly does the Nutcracker like no other in OC. Perhaps I’m biased, as my girl has been in the show the past four years and she returns this year as a Russian (Zoe seen below), but it is OC’s biggest holiday ballet by far with box-office setting records.
The grand production charms OC audiences of all ages with two weeks of shows held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
“We are so very excited for this season,” said Salwa Rizkalla, artistic director and founder of Festival Ballet. “We have the best dancers, a gorgeous set, the beautiful Barclay stage, and the show is such a tradition for so many in Orange County. We always sell out—all 15 shows! We’re blessed to be a favorite way that families celebrate the holidays together.”
Art and opulent sensation collide as the countless festive roles present themselves to the audience. “Everyone has their favorite character from the Toy Soldiers and adorable young Angels to the poetic Snow Queen and fierce Mouse King,” noted Rizkalla with warm regard.
I’ve personally seen what goes on backstage with all the different dancers coming and going, and it’s of epic coordination proportions. “Audiences would indeed be amazed at the happenings behind the curtain! There is an awesome, energetic buzz, as we coordinate so many different characters of The Nutcracker ensemble dancing and darting off stage. It’s a lot of fun. Immense practice goes into the performances, plus we’ve been doing it for so many years that we’re quite good at it. Everyone knows their places.”
The full-length show is always in demand for the acclaimed talent it brings to Orange County. FBT performs this enchanted ballet with spectacular guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, Jeffrey Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, along with their very talented professional company dancers and exceptional young talent from across the Southern California, including FBT’s partner school Southland Ballet Academy that Pointe Magazine named as one of the top 7 ballet schools nationwide.
Set to the timeless music of Peter Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker is the perfect way to embrace the wonder of the season. Tickets for this family-friendly, affordable show start at $40 (visit barclay.org or festivalballet.org. Don your holiday attire, and enjoy the show!
You’ll see my cute Russian in several of the shows, and you can ‘t miss me as I’ll be the proud mom beaming with my iPhone in hand and roses for Zoe. Happy holidays!