Everything Nutcracker

Your Dog Could Become This Company's Next Big "Nutcracker" Star

Archie crossing the stage with his castmates. Photo Courtesy Festival Ballet Providence.

Every ballet star's stage career must eventually come to an end. This season, Festival Ballet Providence celebrates the retirement of one of its Nutcracker's best loved performers: Archie the dog. This Yorkshire Terrier, owned by FBP artistic director Misha Djuric, has taken the stage in more than 125 performances of FBP's Nutcracker over the past 19 years. Though he'll be missed, it makes sense... after all, in human years, he is nearing his 93rd birthday.

Archie appears in the ballet's first scene, scampering across the stage with the partygoers. "Archie announced that he's settling down to a life of luxury and long naps on pillow," says Djuric in a statement. "He actually never expected to have become so famous and he's very grateful for the fans who have supported him all these years."

Archie prepares for his 100th Nutcracker performance www.youtube.com


Archie's retirement leaves room for a new Nutcracker dog, and in the world of ballet, that means an audition. FBP has opened its casting call to all canines ready for a life of fame. According to a statement, the criteria are as follows: "Does your pup have an elegant prance? A regal coat of fur? A charming smile? Can he or she handle the paparazzi?" There are perks for dog owners as well: A behind-the-scenes look at FBP, plus all audition participants will receive a discount code for Nutcracker tickets. Eligible pups will be seen by a panel of judges including Djuric and FBP company dancers and staff on Sunday December 2 from 12:00-2:00 pm at FBP's studios at 825 Hope Street in Providence, RI. Though FBP isn't the only company to incorporate furry friends into its Nutcracker, it's our holiday wish that more productions make the decision to include puppies onstage.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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