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
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