Everything Nutcracker

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

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

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.

Yuri Possokhov's "The Nutcracker" www.youtube.com


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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Ma Cong in the studio with Tulsa Ballet. Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Without him we wouldn't have The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. But how much do you know about Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the man behind classical ballet's most recognizable music? Did you know that the Russian composer hid his homosexuality for much of his life? He also struggled with depression; there's been speculation that his death in 1893 was in fact a suicide.

Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong dramatically recounts his life in a new full-length ballet titled Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music, premiering March 29-31. If you think a story ballet about the most renowned composer of story ballets set to, yes, a Tchaikovsky score, is a bit meta, you wouldn't be wrong. But considering the renewed importance of LGBTQ rights in society, it's a ballet perfectly timed to our era. In Russia, censorship still asserts that Tchaikovsky was not gay. The subject also calls to mind backlash surrounding an LGBTQ-themed work at Louisville Ballet just last month.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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