Atlanta Ballet dancers in rehearsal with Yuri Possokhov. Photo by Kim Kenney, Courtesy Atlanta Ballet.

Atlanta Ballet Debuts a "Nutcracker" for the 21st Century

When Gennadi Nedvigin took over as artistic director of Atlanta Ballet in 2016, one of his first goals was to produce a new Nutcracker; it's been over 20 years since the company's last revamp by former director John McFall. Nedvigin immediately turned to choreographer Yuri Possokhov. "You need to be a really mature choreographer to visualize the whole story," says Nedvigin. Now, two years later, Atlanta Ballet's new Nutcracker will come to life December 8–24.


In designing their production, the duo decided to combine aspects of the ballet's past with today's cutting-edge technology. They pulled together a top-notch team to make their dreams come true. Lighting designer David Finn and projection designer Finn Ross have utilized advanced techniques that interact with the dancers onstage, giving the viewing experience greater depth. "At times you can't tell what is real and what is not," says Nedvigin.

The production also returns to Nutcracker's roots. "It is based strongly on the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story," says Nedvigin. "It's a little bit spooky, yet with a lot of humor." Set designer Tom Pye and costume designer Sandra Woodall have set the ballet in a small German village during the Regency period (1811–1820), the era in which Hoffmann penned his now-famous tale. "This production represents the future of Atlanta Ballet," says Nedvigin. "We're putting the company on a much larger stage."

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