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About Moscow Ballet in Canada

“Beauty and the Beast” partners Moscow Ballet and Recovery Acres Society raise millions together for treatment facility in Canada.

In partnership with Moscow Ballet, Calgary-based Recovery Acres Society (RAS) is raising millions of dollars to build a state-or-the-art alcohol and drug treatment facility for men. After six years of intensive fund-raising campaigns, most significantly performance based fund-raisers of Moscow Ballet’s grand story ballets Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the Great Russian Nutcracker, RAS has purchased land and will soon build the treatment center. The Moscow Ballet productions are specially produced for the RAS Charity Tours. The fund-raising ballets include 2011 Romeo & Juliet starring acclaimed principals Alexandra Elagina and Anatolie Ustimov, with costumes by Shakespearean expert Arthur Oliver and hand-painted backdrops created in Moscow; 2010 Swan Lake performed by 2008 International Ballet Competition gold-medalists Cristina and Alexei Terentiev; Sleeping Beauty; Great Russian Nutcracker and Cinderella.

Performances have spanned Canada from coast to coast including: Montreal in Quebec; Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge in Alberta; Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna in British Columbia; Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert in Saskatoon and Toronto, Kitchener, Sault St Marie, Kingston and Thunder Bay in Ontario.

After receiving the coveted Accreditation Canada membership in 2010 and six years of fund raising with Moscow Ballet, RAS was also awarded $100,000 from Calgary Herald’s 21st annual Christmas Fund campaign in November 2011.  This additional support affirms the local community’s support of the Recovery Acres Society Building Fund. Moscow Ballet producer Akiva Talmi comments,” We are honored that our Russian ballets and the audiences that love them, can have such a significant impact on this ground-breaking and important Canadian health organization. It’s a source of great pleasure for us.”

Recovery Acres Society is a North American leader in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. Their proven Recovery Model serves as a best practices model for treatment facilities and clients from around the world. The affordability of its program opens the reality of rehabilitation to a broad spectrum of clientele. The unique treatment method, as authored by Dr John O’Reilly and Patrick H. Carmichael PhD. in their book The 1835 Recovery Model, has become the “shining star” model for addiction treatment in cities across Canada and in the U.S. such as in Great Falls, Montana.

Patrick H. Carmichael, B.A. (Honours), M.A., Ph.D., is an anthropologist and author of two dozen scholarly publications, including journal articles, book chapters, and monographs. He also writes historical novels and teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Royal College, Calgary. John D. O’Reilly, B.Sc., M.B.A., Ph.D., is the Executive Director of 1835 House, and past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Recovery Acres. He is a certified Master Home Builder, and the founder and president of River Street Homes Building Company, based in Calgary. Once the new building is complete, the current building will be renovated to accommodate female clients for whom the need is consistently on the rise.

Read the Recovery Acres Recommendation

Learn more about The 1835 Recovery Model book

Read an article about the RAS in the Calgary Herald


Moscow Ballet supports fund raising for RAS new facility Moscow Ballet’s A. Elagina and A. Ustimov in Romeo and Juliet 2011    



Soloist Artists

Moscow Ballet's Soloist Artists


Moscow Ballet’s Chumakov and Petrachenko to create stunning new “Dove of Peace” in 2012




Dove of Peace performed by Chumakov and Petrachenko


Sergey Chumakov and
Elena Petrachenko

Arabian Variation and Dove of Peace
Great Russian Nutcracker

Soloists Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrachenko perform the Arabian variation and the Moscow Ballet exclusive Dove of Peace in the renowned Great Russian Nutcracker performances. Acclaimed by the press—"Sergey Chumakov…when partnering Elena Petrachenko…confers an unusual thrill upon the work’s many lifts," Alastair Macaulay, NY Times—Chumakov and Petrachenko first danced with Moscow Ballet in 1994 when the company and the Moscow State Academic Children’s Music Theater, named after Natalia Sats (the world's first professional theater for children and perhaps best known internationally as the birthplace of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf), toured the Great Russian Nutcracker with a troupe of 100. The pair is best known for their almost acrobatic moves which combine the line and beauty of ballet with the showmanship of the circus.

"[Moscow Ballet’s] Arabian pair…were particularly astounding." Charles Downey,

"The most breathtaking by far is the Arabian sequence…as if Cirque du Soleil performers had crept into the timeless ballet." Cheryl Callon,, Dallas

Since 2001, Chumakov and Petrachenko have been principal dancers with the Crown of Russia Ballet, performing leading roles in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Pachita, The Nutcracker, and more. They are principal dancers with the Magdeburg Opera and Ballet Theatre in Germany, dancing classical and modern repertoire, and with the Russian Theatre in Berlin. The pair’s earliest work was with the Moscow State Ballet Company at Bolshoi Theatre; as principal dancers with the Classic and Modern Choreography Theatre in Moscow; with Russian Classical Ballet Theatre; the Classical and Modern Choreography Theatre; and the Russian Ballet of the 21st Century. Chumakov and Petrachenko are both graduates of the State Academic Choreography Institute in Perm, Russia, majoring in the Classical Choreography section. They have traveled and worked in countries including the U.S., Canada, Spain, England, Norway, Germany, Argentina, Ireland, Qatar, Malta, Israel, Mexico, and Jordan.


Svetlana Todinova in the French Variation




Svetlana Todinova
Soloist and Audition Director

Svetlana Todinova, Moscow Ballet’s dynamic Audition Director and soloist for over a decade, dances as soloist with Moscow Ballet in all the company’s repertory. Born in Yadrun, Russia just outside of Moscow, Todinova completed formal training under ballet legendary Yuri Grigorovich at the Ufimsky School of Choreography in Ufa, now named the Rudolph Nureyev Russian State Ballet Academyin honor of the legendary dancer who was also a graduate. Upon graduation in 1997, Svetlana was invited to dance with the Ufa Opera and Ballet Theatre in the capital city of the Bashkiria Republic.  She was later invited to join the Krasnodarsk Musical Theater, directed by Yuri Grigorovich who is now famous for his virtuosic productions at the Bolshoi Theater. There she danced all the big works that Grigorovich created including “Legend of Love,” “Spartacus” and more. She recounts that at rehearsals for these productions Grigorovich would watch the complete show without comment and then gave corrections to each dancer as needed one by one on stage and from memory.  In 1999, Svetlana joined Russia's renowned National Academy of Theatrical Arts, aka “GITIS,” founded in 1878 by theater pioneer and founder of the Stanislavsky acting method, K. Stanislavsky. The school was formed specifically as a training ground for choreographers and directors, and to preserve the heritage of Russian classical ballet. There she specialized in pedagogy and repertory for children. 

Known for her high speed jumps, turns and strong accents, Svetlana is known affectionately among her colleagues as "The Baby Swan" for her role in the classic "Swan Lake."  Along with Swan Lake, her repetoire includes Spartacus, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Carmen, Romeo and Juliet, and more. As Moscow Ballet Audition Director, Svetlana visits dozens of American cities in September and November annually, where she auditions and rehearses hundreds of aspiring dancers to perform in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker.  Following this, Svetlana joins her colleagues for the Great Russian Nutcracker tour.

**The video to the left shows Svetlana performing as Little Red Riding Hood in Moscow Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty.



History of The Nutcracker

The Classic Christmas Story Ballet

The origin of the Nutcracker, a classic Christmas Story, is a fairy tale ballet in two acts centered on a family’s Christmas Eve celebration. Alexandre Dumas Père’s adaptation of the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann was set to music by Tchaikovsky and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. It was commissioned by the director of Moscow’s Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, in 1891, and premiered a week before Christmas 1892. Since premiering in western countries in the 1940s, this ballet has become perhaps the most popular to be performed around Christmas time. The story centers on a young girl’s Christmas Eve and her awakening to the wider world and romantic love. The composer made a selection of eight of the more popular pieces before the ballet’s December 1892 premiere, forming what is currently known as the Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, as is heard in Moscow Ballet productions. The suite became instantly popular; however the complete ballet did not achieve its great popularity as a Christmas performance event until almost 100 years later.


Imperial Ballet's original production of The Nutcracker, circa 1900.


1994 Great Russian Nutcracker with M Alexandrova and V Zabelin


Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, Kissy Doll


2005 Tatiana Predenia and Felgmatov in Grand Pas de Deux


Stanislav Vlasov on Glasnost Tour


2010 A Elagina and A Ustimov in Snowflake Waltz

Performance History and the St. Petersburg Premiere
The first performance of the Christmas ballet was held as a double premiere together with Tchaikovsky’s last opera, Iolanta, around the Christmas holiday season on December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is generally agreed that Lev Ivanov, Second Balletmaster to the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres, worked closely with Marius Petipa, Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres and widely regarded as the Father of Russian Ballet, to create the holiday ballet. It was conducted by Riccardo Drigo, with Antoinetta Dell-Era as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Pavel Gerdt as her Prince, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara/Masha, Sergei Legat as the Nutcracker Prince, and Timofei Stukolkin as Uncle Drosselmeyer.

In Europe and the U.S.
The Christmas ballet was first performed outside Russia in England in 1934. Its first United States performance was in 1944 by the San Francisco Ballet, staged by its artistic director and Balanchine student Willam Christensen. The New York City Ballet first performed George Balanchine’s Nutcracker in 1954 but the holiday ballet did not begin to achieve its great popularity until after the George Balanchine staging became a hit in New York City. The now well known Christmas story has been published in many book versions including colorful children-friendly ones. The plot revolves around a German girl named Clara Stahlbaum and her coming-of-age one Christmas holiday. In Hoffmann’s tale, the girl’s name is Marie or Maria, while Clara – or “Klärchen” – is the name of one of her dolls. In the Great Russian Nutcracker, she is affectionately called Masha.

Composition History
Tchaikovsky accepted the commission from director of Moscow’s Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, writing to a friend while composing the ballet, “I am daily becoming more and more attuned to my task.” While composing the music for the charming Christmas story, Tchaikovsky is said to have argued with a friend who wagered that the composer could not write a melody based on the notes of the octave in sequence. Tchaikovsky asked if it mattered whether the notes were in ascending or descending order, and was assured it did not. This resulted in the Grand Adage from the Grand Pas de Deux of the second act where Clara/Masha dances with her magical Christmas present, the Nutcracker Prince. Among other things, the score of The Nutcracker is noted for its use of the celesta, an instrument that the composer had already employed in his much lesser known symphonic ballad, The Voyevoda (premiere 1891). Although well-known in The Nutcracker as the featured solo instrument in the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from Act II, it is also employed elsewhere in the same act.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker 

Moscow Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker ballet, known as the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” includes other unique elements in the telling of the traditional holiday tale.  In the Moscow Ballet version, the setting is in Moscow and the city’s famous onion-domed skyline is featured as a backdrop. Traditional Russian folk characters Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) escort Masha and the Nutcracker Prince to their dream world in Act II. 

Finally the “Dove of Peace,” exclusive to Moscow Ballet’s version, welcomes the couple to the “Land of Peace and Harmony” traditionally called “The Land of Sweets.” The “Dove of Peace” was inspired by performances of Stanislov Vlasov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer/ballet master of Moscow Ballet’s inaugural 1993 Great Russian Nutcracker , and partner Lilia Sabitova, People’s Artist of Russia.

 “[Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker]…lively and resourceful with an unusual array of bright, painted backdrops adding to the Christmas cheer…disarmingly poetic…faultless mastery of the steps…bravura expertise.”  – Los Angeles Times 2013 Lewis Segal
















Romeo And Juliet

Great Russian Nutcracker  |   Romeo And Juliet   |   Swan Lake  |  Sleeping Beauty  |  Cinderella


Featuring spectacular sets and beautifully costumed Russian dancers, 
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is an annual treat for the whole 
family. Whimsical and imaginative storytelling blends with the richness of 
Russian classical dance to make the Great Russian Nutcracker a unique 
performance not to be missed!

Moscow Ballet has been praised by critics for the unique setting in Act II 
of the "Land of Peace and Harmony." To convey a message of peace, an 
ethereal dove escorts Masha and the Prince to a land where there is no 
war or suffering. Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, Moscow Ballet’s 
production features 200 lavish costumes, larger-than-life Russian puppets
and 9 hand-painted backdrops that are embellished with 3-D effects.

Moscow Ballet continues its commitment to "Celebrating Children…The Arts 
Can Make a Difference.” Local children in each market will audition to appear 
with the 132 Russian dancers on the tours. Last year, more than 6,000 U.S. 
children performed the Great Russian Nutcracker with Moscow Ballet’s 
dancers, as part of its educational outreach campaign.

Set against Valentin Fedorov's spectacular scenic design, with larger-than-life 
puppets and the backdrop of unicorns, exotic birds and animals, the Great 
Russian Nutcracker is a visual delight.




Great Russian Nutcracker


A Christmas Tradition in North America since 1993!

In 1993, Moscow Ballet toured the Great Russian Nutcracker to Washington DC, Baltimore, Syracuse, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, New Haven, Reading and Charleston WV for the first time to critical acclaim. Directed and choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, former soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet, and well known as a “Grand Dance Artist,” the inaugural six-week tour starred principal ballerina Lillia Sabitova. It also featured the innovative rolling backgrounds first created by a St Petersburg Conservatory of Music producer, and which were the inspiration for Eisenstein’s cinematic technique. Since then the annual tour has increased to include about 100 performances on the tour to cities from San Juan to Calgary, and from New York to California, traveling with two simultaneously touring companies of forty dancers each.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Act I - A Christmas Party

Tchaikovsky’s classic score for this Christmas story opens with a “Miniature Overture” during which magical Uncle Drosselmeyer prepares his life-sized Christmas gifts for niece Masha and nephew Fritz at Mayor Stahlbaum’s family home later that evening. The music sets the fanciful holiday mood by using upper registers of the orchestra exclusively as the curtain soon opens to reveal the iconic Moscow city skyline and guests arriving for the Christmas Eve Party. Masha, little brother Fritz, and mother and father Stahlbaum celebrate the holiday with friends and family, when beloved godfather Uncle Drosselmeyer, arrives with his magical gifts.

Uncle Drosselmeyer presides over a puppet show which foreshadows the events of the Nutcracker ballet and then produces a large bag of Christmas gifts for all the children. All are very happy, except Masha, who has yet to be presented a gift. Uncle Drosselmeyer uses a super-sized Matrushka Doll to unveil his life-sized Kissy, Harlequin and Moorish Dolls as presents for all to enjoy in wonderment.  The festivities continue with the adults dancing the stately Russian Court dances, which the youngsters mimic. When the dances are finished, Masha approaches Uncle Drosselmeyer asking for her Christmas gift and he gives her a beautiful toy Nutcracker, in the traditional shape of a soldier. Masha is overjoyed, but her brother Fritz is jealous, and breaks the Nutcracker. The party soon ends, guests make their way sleepily home and Masha falls asleep.

While the family is sleeping, Uncle Drosselmeyer repairs the Nutcracker Doll. As the clock strikes midnight, Masha hears the sound of mice scurrying in her bedroom. She wakes up and tries to run away, but the mice stop her. Perhaps Masha is still in a dream?  The Christmas tree suddenly begins to grow to enormous size, filling the room and the Nutcracker Doll comes to life. He rises to defend Masha against the Mouse King who leads his mice into battle. Here Tchaikovsky continues the miniature effect of the Overture, setting the battle music again predominantly in the orchestra’s upper registers.

A conflict ensues, and when Masha helps the Nutcracker Doll by throwing her shoe at the Mouse King, the Nutcracker seizes his opportunity and defeats him. The mice retreat, taking their wounded leader with them. The Nutcracker is then transformed into a handsome Nutcracker Prince! Masha and her Nutcracker Prince travel to the Snow Forrest where traditional Russian folk figures, Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) welcome Masha and her Nutcracker Prince and escort them to the Land of Peace and Harmony. The score conveys the wondrous effect of the journey by introducing a wordless children’s chorus.
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Act II - "Land of Peace and Harmony"

In Konstantin Ivanov’s original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker, Act II (1892) Masha and her Nutcracker Prince arrive in the “Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy” with all its Christmas candy and treats, but in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker they arrive in the “Land of Peace and Harmony” where all creatures, animal and human, live in accord with each other. The act opens with a riveting performance of Moscow Ballet’s exclusive “Dove of Peace” in which 2 dancers balance and leverage with each other to form a soaring white bird with a 20 foot wingspan.

The “Dove of Peace” was inspired by performances of Stanislov Vlasov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer/ballet master of Moscow Ballet’s inaugural 1993 Great Russian Nutcracker , and partner Lilia Sabitova, People’s Artist of Russia. (See the video to the right and note the soaring bird images) The “Dove of Peace,” exclusive to the Great Russian Nutcracker , leads Masha and Nutcracker Prince into the Land of Peace and Harmony (traditionally known as the Land of Sweets). It was created by acclaimed dancers Sergey Chumakov and Elena Petrachenko in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Great Russian Nutcracker.  “Knockout male dancer…Sergey Chumakov…when partnering Elena Petrachenko…confers an unusual thrill upon the work’s many lifts” writes Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic, NY Times.

Unique to Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, are many different backdrops. The peaceful ambiance of Act II is established by award-winning Russian designer Valentin Federov’s drops created with three-dimensional effects. One features a rainbow which symbolizes the road from Masha’s bedroom to the Land of Peace and Harmony. The next is an homage to Henri Rousseau’s famous jungle paintings – it is child-like in its style, warm and colorful and is where the Dove of Peace appears.

In the Land of Peace and Harmony emissaries (who bear a distinct resemblance to Masha’s dolls!) appear from around the world to welcome and honor Masha and her Prince on this peaceful Christmas night. Spanish, Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and French couples demonstrate the great dances and spirit of their country’s heritages. The dancers are accompanied by 10 foot tall , playful puppets which are also symbolic of that country’s unique attributes. The Spaniard’s Bull represents the gift of daring, the Arabian Elephants bring the gift of wisdom, the Chinese Dragon brings the gift of playfulness, the Balalaika playing Russian Bear bestows strength on Masha and the French Unicorn imparts imagination.

The final scene of the holiday Christmas celebration concludes with a lush Waltz of the Flowers featuring a full company of 8 men and 8 women. Finally Masha and the Nutcracker Prince express their gratitude for the lovely evening and party by dancing a Grand Pas de Deux of their own….The night is over, Masha awakens to find herself back in her own bedroom with the beloved Nutcracker Doll by her side.



Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker















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