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N U T C R A C K E R ...... History
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" Choreographer Andrew Rist's classic interpretation focuses on telling the story through the dramatic flow of the dancing. Notable for its stunning design and energetic performances, this 'Nutcracker' make the children a vital part of the story .         - PIONEER PRESS -

   H I S T O R Y          S T O R Y          2001 Photos         2009 Photos        2010 Photos         2011 Photos       2012 Photos         2013 Photos           AndrewRist        Cheryl Rist

Choreographer:   Andrew Rist
Composer:  T chaikovsky
Costumes:  Cheryl Rist
Backdrops:  Mary Novodvorsky
Jim Arnold, Cythia Betz
Kevin Jones
Photography:  Dave Trayers

Brief Ballet Minnesota
Nutcracker History

Andrew Rist choreographs parts of the Nutcracker in St Paul, Minnesota. It is presented as a lecture/demonstration to about 200 people by Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota.

Classic Nutcracker (chor: A Rist) presented by Ballet Minnesota. The production is presented at the St Paul Student Center Theater, University of MN St Paul campus, seating capacity 330.

Ballet Minnesota moves the production to O'Shaughnessy, St Paul, Minnesota, seating capacity 1800.

A milestone of 10,000 audience members is reached.

Living Room / Snow 2010

2010 CAST

Drosselmeyer .................. Robert Cleary
Clara ................................ Olivia Verdick, Berea Ams
Fritz ................................. Elijah Heggerness

Sugar Plum Fairy .................. Oksana Konobeyeva
Cavalier ................................ Matthew Prescott
Snow Queen ....................... Julia Heggerness
Snow Prince ........................ Allen Gregory
Rose .................................... Erin Warn, Jennifer Bennett



Waltz of the Snowflakes photopage 2010
Waltz of the Flowers
photopage 2010

Living Room 1
photopage 2010
Living Room 2
photopage 2010

Grand Pas de Deux: Oksana Konobeyeva & Matthew Prescott photopage 2010
Act 2 Divertisements
photopage 2010

Photography 2010: Dave Taryers

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Alexander Dumas Pere was born in Villers-Cotterêts 40 km NE of Paris, France. A French writer, he wrote a revised vision of ETA Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King titled "L'Histoire d'un Casse Noisette (The Story of a Hazelnut-cracker). It was from these reviesed versions of the story that Marius Petipa (choreographer of the Nutcracker) got his ideas for the story of the Nutcracker Ballet.

E. T. A. Hoffman published his book "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". This work was a morbid story never intended for children which intended to show the depraved and desperate side of mankind.

Marius Petipa, choreographer of the Nutcracker, is born in Marseilles, France. He was first ballet master to the Tzar of Russia and is credited with ushering in the golden age of Classical Ballet with Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Don Quoxite and the Nutcracker.

Lev Ivanov is born in Russia.  A Russian dancer, chodreogrpher, teacher, and ballet-maste, Ivanov was assistant to chief ballet-master Marius Petipa at the Imperial St. Petersburg Theatres, St Petersburg, Russia. He was instrumental in the development of the classic romantic ballet in Russia. When Petipa fell ill, Ivanov created the choreography for The Nutcracker.

Peter I Tchaikovsky, composer of the Nutcracker, is born in Russia.

SnowFlakes / Flowers 2010

A. Vsevolozsky, director of Imperial Theaters in Russia, planned to produce a new ballet, "The Nutcracker". This came about because of the success which the ballet "Sleeping Beauty" recieved. He also planned to use the same choreographer (Marius Petipa) and composer (Peter Tchaikovsky) which collaborated to produce "Sleeping Beauty":

Choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned composer Peter I. Tchaikovsky to compose the musis for the Nutcracker.

Early 1892:
Tchaikovsky begins work on the music for the Nutcracker. Upon completion of the score in the summer of 1892 Tchaikovsky wrote that the music he composed was "infinitely poorer than The Sleeping Beauty" (which he had composed and premiered in 1890.

An interesting footnote to the score of The Nutcracker is the famous use of the celesta in the Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy. The celesta was a new musical instrument which had just been created by Auguste Mustel. Tchaikovsky had discovered the newly-invented instrument just before departing for the U.S., and was immediately captivated by its ``divinely beautiful tone.'' He arranged to have one sent to Russia secretly, because he was ``afraid Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov may get hold of it and use the unusual effect before me.''

Living Room 1&2

March 1892:
Tchaikovsky premiered the music for The Nutcracker Ballet Suite before was ballet was even produced. This eight-part concert version of the ballet music was a success. At least six times, the audience demanded immediate encores of specific music selections. Because of the Suite's instant success, the score was published even before the ballet premiered. (reference: The History of the Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, Op. 71a  was scored for 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, glockenspiel, tympani, harp, celesta, and strings. (reference: Tchaikovsky: "Nutcracker" Suite

September, 1892:
Rehearsals begin for the Nutcracker. Choreographer Marius Petipa is taken ill and replaced by Lev Ivanov. Although Petipa worked with Tchaikovsky to create the story, the story, Ivanov is also generally credited with choreographing the Nutcracker. (reference:The History of the Nutcracker

World Premiere
December 18, 1892:

Nutcracker World Premiere was at the Maryinsky Theater in St Petersbury, Russia with choreography by Petipa/Ivanov, music by Tchaikovsky and decor by Botcharov.. Sugar Plum Fairy: Antoinette dell'era, Prince: Paul Gerdt

Grand Pas / Divertisements 2010

The Bolshoi Ballet performed the first Nutcracker in Moscow. The little girl, Masha, was played by an adult ballerina who performed the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker was then transformed into a prince who danced the dances originally given to the Cavalier.

The first production of the Nutcracker presented outside of Russia was restaged by Nicholas Sergeyev for the Vic-Wells Ballet, and performed at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, England. The title of the ballet was changed to "Casse-Noisette".            Sugar Plum Fairy: Alicia Markova, Prince: Harold Turner

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo was the first to present a shortened version of the Nutcracker in the United States. The choreography was by Alexandra Fedorova (a former Maryinsky dancer, who restaged the Nutcracker after Petipa) with sets by Alexander Benois.

February 1954:
George Balanchine choreographs a full length version of the Nutcracker. Perfromed by New York City Ballet and presented at the New York City Center, the Balanchine production inspired many other productions throughout the world. decor: Horace Armistead; costumes: Barbara Karinska.              Sugar Plum Fairy: Maria Tallchief, Prince: Nicholas Magallanes

'Classic' NUTCRACKER Review

Clara: Olivia Verdick photopage 2010
Clara: Berea Ames
photopage 2010

Photography 2010: Dave Taryers

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Nutcracker Claras  2010

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Classic Nutcracker' is rich, vibrant, entertaining    By Linda Shapiro

      "Ballet Minnesota's Classic Nutcracker" wraps the stage of the O'Shaughnessy like a homemade afghan with intricate patterns and rich, vibrant colors. It offers warmth and family feeling. And if it occasionally drops a few stitches, the overall effect is spirited and highly entertaining.

     The first act Christmas party in the 19th century Silberhaus drawing room bristles with celebration as elegant adults, adorable children, bustling maids and dancing boys (sometimes in ragged unison) swirl about in lively, looping patterns. Godfather Drosselmeyer, played with sinister jollity by Robert Cleary, distributes toys to the delighted children, including a spiffy Nutcracker for Clara Silberhaus.

    Freezing the action at various times during the festivities and adding pulsating strobe lights is a terrific way to foreshadow the menacing scene that takes place after midnight, when Clara sneaks downstairs to play with her beloved Nutcracker.  She is soon surrounded by frolicsome little mice and red-eyed rats, who are quickly dispatched by the Nutcracker and his crack regiment in a battle scene marked by carefully orchestrated mayhem.  The victorious Nutcracker, transformed into a handsome young officer, whisks Clara off to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy with help from swirling snowflakes and a whole cadre of vivacous little angels.

     Andrew Rist's choreography for the snowflakes is fast and brittle - more a blizzard than a soft, lyrical snowfall - and the ensemble often seems to be racing to keep up with the deluge of steps. More successful is his ravishing waltz of the Flowers in Act II, where lithe blossoms melt in and out of kaleidoscopic patterns with unaffected ease, led by Erin Warn as a prize-winning rose.

     Once in the castle of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara and the Nutcracker (danced with vitality and elan by Kathleen Schaefer and Allen Gregory) are entertained by dances from many lands.  These include a saucy "Carmen"-flavored Spanish; a robust Russian; and a piquant Chinese variation with spinning parasols, a dragon, and a smoke-belching demon.

      Most satisfying of all is the pas de deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, performed with regal eplomb by former Bolshoe soloist Oksana Konobeyeva and Alexey Agudin of American Ballet Theater.  Aside from dazzling dancing, the two exhibit an ardent warmth and generosity of spirit that could serve as a model for the budding Clara and her faithful Nutcracker.

     Cheryl Rist's imaginative costumes and Mary Novodvorsky's richly inventive sets enhanced this animated production.