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By Kina Poon
From time to time, The Nutcracker—that cash cow adored by audiences and somewhat less loved by dancers—gets a makeover.
At Ballet San Jose, beloved prima Karen Gabay will amp up the Nutcracker character’s backstory in her first full-length ballet—in which she hopes to perform, as she has done for 30-plus years. The production, running Dec. 8–23 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, will use the sets and costumes from Kevin McKenzie’s 1993 Nutcracker (a result of the partnership between the company and American Ballet Theatre).
Sarasota Ballet honors the Ringling family, the circus magnates who are also celebrated local arts patrons, in a new Nutcracker by choreographer Matthew Hart and designer Peter Docherty—including circus-themed Act II divertissements. (Dec. 14–15 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Dec. 21–22 at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.)
At Boston Ballet, settled into its new space at the Boston Opera House (Nov. 23–Dec. 30), the majority of the choreography by director Mikko Nissinen will be retained, while new designs by Robert Perdziola reference the early 1800s. Also taking advantage of its new home ( Las Vegas’ Smith Center) is Nevada Ballet Theatre, building on existing relationships by engaging Patricia Ruel, a set and props designer for Cirque du Soleil, in a production by director James Canfield (Dec. 15–23).
A costume sketch of Sarasota Ballet’s Rat King. Sketch by Peter Docherty, Courtesy SB.