Everything Nutcracker

Moscow Ballet Performs "Great Russian Nutcracker" in 137 Cities Across the U.S.

Moscow Ballet's "Russian Variation." Courtesy Moscow Ballet.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker is not your average Nut. In 1994, the production debuted in six cities across the U.S. This winter, three simultaneously traveling companies of Russian dancers will bring the ballet to 137 cities, incorporating up to 120 local children in each location. For Mary Talmi, co-founder and producer of Talmi Entertainment, which produces the show, this is no small feat. "The role of arts education in this country is needed more than ever, and the more expansive our tour is, the more I realize that the benefits to the children are way beyond dance," she says.


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From August through October, seven dancers embarked on an audition tour, choosing children at host studios across the country. The schools hold rehearsals throughout the fall in preparation of the company's arrival. The day of the show, they're fitted in costumes, rehearse with the company and go on that night. "We have children whose first exposure to someone from another culture, speaking another language, is through the Nutcracker," says Talmi. "It's mind-blowing." In addition to casting students as supporting mice, snowflakes, party children, snow maidens or in variations, Moscow Ballet brings in youth choirs to sing during the performance. "It's not about the children becoming professional dancers," says Talmi. "It's about the expansion of their world and a sense of their own worth."

Just for fun
Via @lizzo on Twitter

On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded which responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.

Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)

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From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.

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Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
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