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Casting Call for Great Russian Nutcracker 2012

For Immediate Release

Casting Call for Dancers Celebrates 20 Years ~ American Youth Rehearse, Dance with Russian Pros in Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker!

Dance studio owner J. Karl, "Comparable to working one-on-one with an Olympic athlete…the best of the best." usitmov and a. elagina in the grand pas de deux of the great russian nutcracker.jpg           

Moscow Ballet Audition Directors (L to R) Svetlana Todinova, Olga Aru, and Nataliya Miroshnyk

Contact: Sally Michael Keyes
413.499.1733 x21 

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(Berkshires, MA) August 9, 2012 – Moscow Ballet announces the 20th annual casting call for student dancers from 50 North American cities to perform in the Great Russian Nutcracker. Those selected will perform alongside acclaimed principals Alexandra Elagina, whose dancing has been cited by the NY Times as “Brimful with feeling,” and 10-time award winning Olga Kifyak. The experience of working and performing with professional dancers is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring dancers. Cathy Mucci, owner of Dance Centre North in the Syracuse, NY area, was a host studio during the first Great Russian Nutcracker tour in 1993 and has been a host studio every year since. She says, “In Russia it is a very professional approach...children who study at their schools view ballet as their future.” Casting an average 50 children in 50 cities over the past 20 years yields 50,000 valuable interactions for the next generation of dancers, which is a personal mission for Mary Talmi, Moscow Ballet’s North American co-producer. Children’s roles include Party Children, Mice, Angels, Butterflies, Snowflakes, and more. Moscow Ballet’s Audition Directors are flown into each city in the fall to conduct auditions and to work one-on-one with students in rehearsals. Moscow Ballet Soloists/Audition Directors for 2012 are Svetlana Todinova, Olga Aru, and Nataliya Miroshnyk (bios below). The 2012 auditions start in Regina, Canada on August 20 and end in Ashland, KY on November 9. To find an audition city and to register go to

From the studiosIn Motion Dance owner Jenny Karl says, "This [opportunity] would be comparable to working one-on-one with an Olympic are working with the best of the best." Dancer/teacher Michelle Dawson of Pittsburgh shares, "Not only are you providing a fantastic opportunity for kids to perform alongside professionals…but to tackle what it means to be a performer, how you handle all of that." Allison, 15 years old, has danced since the age of 2 at Gotta Dance in Somerville, NJ. Allison’s first experience with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker was as a Snowflake and then as a French Page. Three years later, Allison was cast in the role of Clara in the national tour of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular for eight weeks. Another former Gotta Dance student, Hillary-Marie Michael (choreographer, teacher, founder and director of Jersey Tap Fest), says, “From start to finish, including the audition process, rehearsals and the final show, Moscow Ballet provides young dancers with an opportunity to experience a day in the life of a professional dancer. It is an excellent way for dancers to understand both the discipline and fun involved in a professional ballet production.”

The Student Performance Program is underwritten by Moscow Ballet. It includes administration of the traveling soloists, transportation to and from Russia and in the US and Canada, soloists’ salary for audition and rehearsal work and some daily living expenses when not provided by a local host family. There is no fee to participating children for instruction or costumes. (Individual studios sometimes charge an administrative fee for Master Classes or auditions and rehearsal.) Partnerships with local dance studios are carefully developed by Mary Gianonne Talmi, co-producer of Moscow Ballet’s North American tours. Studio owners are pleased to offer their students personal exposure to the highly trained Russian dancers and to the performance experience. This is an especially unique opportunity for studios in regional markets. Talmi believes strongly in the benefit of regional development programs to American dance and is a pioneer in the movement started in the seventies. Early in Moscow Ballet’s North American touring history, Talmi developed programming for American children that provides cross cultural enrichment, expert classical ballet instruction, and professional performance opportunities. The continuum of experiences extends over a 6-month period; summer ballet workshops, school outreach programs, and auditions, rehearsals, and performance experiences in the Great Russian Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty.

Svetlana Todinova has been with Moscow Ballet since 2001 dancing in the annual 60 city North American tour of the Great Russian Nutcracker. Annually in September and October she auditions and rehearses hundreds of student dancers to perform with Moscow Ballet. She is also a Teacher for Moscow Ballet’s educational programs including Summer Intensives and "New Horizons – A Children’s Program for Life” for which she just completed a six-week program in Pasco County, FL. Her repertory includes Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Carmen, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and more. Svetlana trained at the Rudolph Nureyev Russian State Ballet Academy (formerly Ufimsky Choreography School) named in honor of the legendary dancer who was also a graduate. Upon graduation Todinova was invited to join the Krasnodarsky Musical Theater Company of the Bashkiria Theater and while there danced for Yuri Grigorovich, famous for his virtuosic productions at the Bolshoi Theater. In 1999, she joined Russia's renowned National Academy of Theatrical Arts, or “GITIS,” with which she toured internationally for the first time. In 2006 Todinova was invited to join the Crown of Russia Ballet Company as a soloist again touring internationally.

Olga Aru is a rising star ballerina and ballet teacher joining Moscow Ballet in 2012. She received her degree in ballet and dance pedagogy from the the Kiev State Ballet College, Ukraine, in 2008. Most recently Olga performed with Les Ballet Persans in Stockholm, Sweden. There she danced leading roles in the modern ballets Turquoise Land – Dream of Peace and Les Femme. Before Sweden, she traveled to Cairo, Egypt and danced in the premiere performances of Tut Ankh Amon at the Cairo National Opera House. She also performed the Oriental Variation in their Nutcracker and was a Small Swan in the great classic Swan Lake. Olga also performed with the Silesian State Opera in the beautiful and historic theatre in Bytom, Poland. She had roles in the Adagio in Night Valpurgis from Faust, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cat in the Boots. Upon graduation from school in 2008 Olga was invited to join the Imperial Russian Ballet in Moscow, Russia. She toured Portugal and China with this company. Olga’s repertoire includes the Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, the White Adagio in Swan Lake as well as the Pas De Trois, Kitri in Don Quixote and she danced in the Heart of the Snow Queen, a modern ballet choreographed by Alla Rubina.

Nataliya Miroshnyk charms audiences each year with her dancing of the dramatic Spanish variation in Act II of the Great Russian Nutcracker. She has danced as a soloist with Moscow Ballet for over five years and is also an Audition Director and Teacher. Nataliya travels across North America auditioning and rehearsing young dancers to perform with the professionals in ballets including the Great Russian Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and more. In 2011 she taught the Vaganova method training for advanced and pre-professional American ballet students in the Moscow Ballet Summer Intensive programs and in 2012 she was one of four Teachers for 3,300 Pasco County, FL students of the six-week “New Horizons – A Children’s Program for Life” program. She graduated from the Kiev Academic Choreographic School in Ukraine and is expertly trained. Immediately upon graduation Nataliya was invited to join the company of the Odessa State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of the Ukraine and gained a tremendous amount of experience touring the world. Her repertoire includes classic ballets such as Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Don Quixote and, of course, the Great Russian Nutcracker.

Moscow Ballet’s 20th Anniversary production of the Great Russian Nutcracker overflows with spectacular new “Dove of Peace” in which two dancers become one stunning bird; a Christmas Tree that grows to seven stories tall; award-winning principal dancers and a corps of 40; towering silk puppets; 200 all new lavish costumes; falling snow; and more. Russian cultural elements include a Troika-styled sleigh escorted by Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), and nine hand-painted backdrops by Valentin Federov, all set to Tchaikovsky’s complete Nutcracker Suite score. For 20 years Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker performances have introduced the finest Russian ballerinas and danseurs to audiences across North America. From former Bolshoi soloist Stanislov Vlasov and partner Lilia Sabitova in 1993 to danseur and upstart choreographer Anatolie Emelianov and Honored Artist of Russia Tatiana Predenia in 2002; IBC Gold Medalists Cristina and Alexei Terentiev in 2006; and acclaimed partners Alexandra Elagina and Anatolie Ustimov in 2010 to name a few. From the press: “Bold and vital” Virginian-Pilot (1994); “Delight to watch” Washington Post (1996); "Whimsical, charming, vibrant classical style” New York Times (2002); “Aristocratic finesse” Cleveland Plain Dealer (2010); “Brimful with feeling…expansive” Chief Dance Critic, New York Times (2010); and “Sheer splendor and elegant dancing” Baltimore Sun (2011). Great Russian Nutcracker–20 years of acclaim, 20 years of soaring holiday spirit!

Tickets are now on sale and start at $27.50. Call 800-745-3000 or visit Group rates are available for 10 or more, call 800-320-1733 x15.

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