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Dec 21, 2011 - Pasco County School Board signs 1700 children on for Moscow Ballet’s “Day of Immersion” on Dec 27 at Mahaffey Theatre

Pasco County School Board signs 1700 children on for Moscow Ballet’s “Day of Immersion” on Dec 27 at Mahaffey Theatre
“New Horizons – A Children’s Program for Life” created to develop children’s long-term health and creative abilities

Moscow Ballet’s Elagina and Ustimov


Sally Michael Keyes •
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Justine Murphy •
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(Berkshires, MA) Dec 21, 2011Moscow Ballet and District School Board of Pasco County’s PLACE program announce a “Day of Immersion” for 1700 elementary school children who are enrolled in it’s before and after school child care program on Tuesday December 27 from 10am to 3pm at the Mahaffey Theater. The children will arrive in 40 busses with their packed lunches for the interactive day with the Russian dancers and a full performance of the Great Russian Nutcracker. The children come from 38 PLACE locations in Pasco County. They will participate in movement exercises with the Moscow Ballet company dancers, engage in interactive puppet play with the Moscow Ballet puppets made by Valentin Federov and see the full performance. The children come prepared to the event having been read the unique Great Russian Nutcracker story and its story of peace, cooperation and celebration of cultural diversity the day before at the PLACE centers where they also discussed the story and made their own puppets for the event. Mary Grey, Supervisor of Child Care Educational Programs for Pasco County, recognizes the need for this program and is working on incorporating other non-profit, artistic organizations into a similar experience for the PLACE children.

Moscow Ballet’s proactive program ‘New Horizons: A Children’s Program for Life’ is geared to establish a healthy and creative lifestyle for children of all ages. The New Horizons program uses a “three-legged” approach to developing healthy children addressing diet, exercise and the need for creative expression in their lives through personal and hands-on experiences rooted in the performing arts. Through the program, children work with healthy, creative and successful role models from the Moscow Ballet company and other specialists. Children are led through interactive, age-appropriate activities addressing dietary and physical health guidelines as developed for Moscow Ballet by experts in those areas, nutritionist Deb Phillips and ballerina Cynthia Gregory via her book “Ballet is the Best Exercise.” The third arm of the program introduces children to creative and aesthetic appreciation of live performances awakening the awareness of their own creative abilities and inspiring them to nurture that spark. After Moscow Ballet leaves the community, the host organization(s), the children and their teachers have tools in place, including packets with movement exercises, diet guidelines, creative exercises and a companion book to the Great Russian Nutcracker, to continue working the New Horizons program.

The philosophy behind ‘New Horizons: A Children’s Program for Life’ – The program offers children, from communities that the company visits, the opportunity to experience a world class cultural event that might not otherwise be made available to them. The program combats the obstacles that hinder children developing their creative abilities and an understanding of the potential contributions they can make to the creative economy due to the current lack of exposure to culture and adequate educational funding in many American school district curriculums. This program also encourages its participants to develop healthy lifestyle choices leading to lifelong wellness by providing practical instruction that enables the children to live happy while still living healthy. Creativity, health and wellness as approached through the lens of the performing arts, ballet in particular, is a unique and potentially life-changing experience for many children which only Moscow Ballet can provide them in over 60 cities across North America. Participation in New Horizons: A Children’s Program for Life provides experiences that can grow healthier children in each community. Beyond providing arts education and wellness programming, the New Horizons program also brings funds to the communities it serves, and can help in the revitalization of a city’s arts and theatre districts.

A generation of support for North American children – In addition to touring classis story ballets for the past nineteen years, Moscow Ballet is a leader in the performing arts world in working one-on-one with local children across North America. Moscow Ballet dancers are experts in their field qualifying them as role models for healthy living due to the high demands of their profession and their own personal drive to maintain excellent lifelong wellness. Among being some of the best dancers in the world, Moscow Ballet dancers are also generous in sharing their unique and invaluable artistic and cultural knowledge by leading auditions, rehearsals and Russian cultural lectures & dance demonstrations for hundreds of communities. Moscow Ballet gives local children the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with the professionals; provides affordable, and in many cases free, master classes using the expertise of the Russian ballerinas; and sponsors and executes literacy campaigns with schools, universities and even businesses (Barnes & Noble Books) in communities across North America. Moscow Ballet has also organized large-scale benefit events which raise thousands of dollars for organizations such as the National M.S. Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and more.

About the Great Russian Nutcracker – Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker tells the beloved Christmas story of the girl who falls in love with a Nutcracker Prince – with Russian flair. Praised by the NY Times as “thrilling and expansive,” the 40 impeccably trained Russian dancers leap, spin and lunge bringing the traditional story to life. The Act I Christmas party enchants with its magical toys, evil Mouse King and a journey through the glittering Snow Forest. Unique to the Great Russian Nutcracker, Russian folk characters Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden escort Masha (aka Clara) to the Land of Peace and Harmony in Act II where she and the Nutcracker Prince are honored by emissaries from heritages the world over; African, Russian, Asian, European and Hispanic. Set to Pytor Tchaikovsky’s famous score, Moscow Ballet’s production features lavish costumes, nine hand-painted backdrops with 3-D ornamentation and fanciful, larger-than-life puppets designed by Russian puppet master Valentin Federov. A must see show for everyone in the family this holiday season!

History – Akiva Talmi Presents Inc. (ATP) produces and presents Moscow Ballet in annual North American tours of the Great Russian Nutcracker and productions of classic story-ballets including Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and more. Created by award-winning Juilliard alumnus, composer/conductor and theatrical producer, Akiva Talmi, ATP evolved out of the all-star Russian "Glasnost Festival Tour" (1986-92). The Great Russian Nutcracker made its debut in 1993 and was directed and choreographed by soloist Stanislav Vlasov of the famous Bolshoi Theater. In 1994, the Moscow State Theatre of Natalia Sats and the theatre's full orchestra joined Moscow Ballet to expand the company to an 88-artist tour which was billed as the "19th Century Classical Nutcracker." In 2003, Anatoly Emelianov, then an upstart choreographer and winner of the Diagelev award, restaged the Great Russian Nutcracker to critical acclaim. Moscow Ballet productions continue to feature award-winning principals and top graduates of Perm, Vaganova, Moscow State Academic Choreographic and Kiev schools.Prior to 1992 Akiva Talmi produced “Cynthia Gregory National Tour” with Nancy Reagan as Honorary Chair; “From the Top” NPR TV special featuring NYCB’s Violette Verdi and Itzhak Perlman, “Alexander Godunov” national tour and more.

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