Ogunquit Performing Arts celebrates the holiday season on Sunday December 3, 2017, 3 pm at the Dunaway Center, 23 School Street in Ogunquit, with the presentation of dancers from the Portland Ballet in an entrancing program featuring excerpts from “The Victorian Nutcracker”, the company’s magical production of Tchaikovsky’s most popular holiday ballet. Children are welcome, and will be invited onstage to dance with the dancers following the program. Refreshments will be served after the performance.
This very special program presented by the Portland Ballet features a select company of dancers in full costume performing excerpts from their full production of “The Victorian Nutcracker”. Sasha Yapparov, Director of the Portland School of Ballet CORPS program, will talk about this beloved ballet and the technique and training required to perform it. Children from the audience will be invited onstage to chat with the dancers and try out a few dance steps. Admission is $5 payable at the door. There are no advance ticket sales.
In 1891, following the presentations of “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty” , composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was commissioned to compose a double-bill program featuring both an opera and a ballet. For the latter, Alexandre Dumas Père’s adaption of the nutcracker story by E.T.A. Hoffman was set to music by Tchaikovsky and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa.
In the spring of 1891, Tchaikovsky became acquainted with a new instrument that enchanted him with its “divinely beautiful tone.” Invented by a noted French instrument maker, Victor Mustel, it had been patented as the “celesta” after its heavenly timbre. Tchaikovsky arranged to have one sent to Russia in secret, for he was afraid other composers “will get hold of it and use its unusual effects before me. I expect this new insrument will produce a colossal sensation.”
The first concert presentation of “The Nutcracker” in 1892 was a great success, although the ballet itself took considerably longer to take hold. Over the years, however, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the music of the celesta to which she danced, has ensured “The Nutcracker” as the favorite Christmas presentation of ballet companies around the world.
The Portland Ballet’s production of “The Victorian Nutcracker” recreates the interior of Portland’s Victoria Mansion and interprets Tchaikovsky’s score through stories of Portland’s nineteenth-century families. This production is unique among Nutcracker performances across the nation. It opens for a series of performances in the Westbrook Performing Arts Center on December 16th, and in Portland’s Merrill Auditorium on December 22nd.
Ogunquit Performing Arts and Portland Ballet have enjoyed a long history of collaboration, as OPA has presented many performances by the company in Ogunquit over the years. OPA is especially delighted to welcome them back during this holiday season!
The Portland Ballet is actually 2 entities: a school and professional dance company, both of which are involved in the company’s performances. The CORPS program of the school is a pre-professional performing arts high school curriculum that is unique in the State of Maine. Qualified students are granted early release from regular classes to Portland School of Ballet for three hours of daily intensive study in ballet, kinesiology, nutrition, and stagecraft. Participants earn transcript credit in Health, Physical Education, and Fine Arts.
This family-friendly “sneak preview” of excerpts of the formal presentation of the Portland Ballet’s “The Victorian Nutcracker” will be performed at the Dunaway Center, 23 School Street, on Sunday afternoon December 3, 2017 at 3 pm. The performance will take about an hour with time afterwards for children to interact with the dancers and enjoy a reception with refreshments. Admission is $5 per person at the door. There will be no advance sales.