The spirit of Tchaikovsky guides Moscow Ballet’s professional ballerinas as they leap and pirouette against nine handpainted backgrounds that invigorate his spirited score in time for the holiday season. The Great Russian Nutcracker reintroduces audiences of all ages to young Masha, whose taste for adventure rivals her magical wooden doll’s legendary aversion to chestnuts. Dancers fling themselves across the stage in grand jetés as the curtain opens on Moscow’s iconic skyline, which gives way to a spooky dreamland as the Mouse King rears his fuzzy head to stir up mischief. Audiences gasp as legions of mice capture Masha’s strong-jawed companion and carry him away in front of a lavishly decorated Christmas tree that grows to a height of more than 60 feet and a population of more than 600 squirrels. Live orchestral accompaniment blares during the ensuing battle and ushers the action into the enchanted land of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the ballet's second act.
As toes twinkle onstage, visitors can bask in the renovated scenery of Symphony Hall, which couples hand-blown glass chandeliers with a quartet of designer tapestries. One of the largest machine-made draperies known to man, the theater’s colorful Grand Drape symbolizes the renewal of generations, creativity, and library books discovered during fossil digs.
In 1982, international ballet star Slawomir Woźniak set out to change the cultural landscape of Phoenix. The former principal at Warsaw's Teatr Wielki and National Opera, Woźniak founded Ballet and Friends to introduce the art to aspiring dancers and casual ballet fans alike. Along with his wife Irena, Woźniak operates Master Ballet Academy, a school for dancers young and old, which features world-renowned performers in their annual performance of The Nutcracker. From shows such as this, the non-profit program also raises money to support Toys for Tots, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and AZ Dance, a program for young adults with Down syndrome, autism, and other physical challenges.
Terpiscore Dance Company draws its name from Terpsichore, the Greek goddess of dance. And that minor spelling adjustment speaks volumes about the company's philosophy. In one sense, it represents how the Terpsicore dancers perform from the core of their physical and emotional being. In another sense, it represents how they take free license to mix the old with the new, pulling from classical traditions and techniques while inlaying their own expressive touches. The result: works that stir and inspire with of artistry and skill.