A Pennsylvania Ballet holiday tradition for more than four decades, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker blends the sweet descant of the Philadelphia Boys Choir into the bounding melodies of Tchaikovsky’s ballet suite. An enduring holiday fantasy, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker captivates the eye and ear with toy soldiers who leap and lunge in battle with the giant Mouse King, sparkling snowflakes who twirl across the stage en pointe, and a medley of dancing confections in the Land of the Sweets. Unlike flipbook fairy tales found in wholesale crackerjack boxes, the ballet has outfitted their production with vivid costumes, complex choreography, and a talented cast to create a colorful rendition of the seasonal story.
Mark Roxey says his troupe is the biggest ballet company in the smallest city in the US. That wasn't exactly the plan in 1995 when he and his wife Melissa founded the Hunterdon Youth Ballet, but as the group evolved, so did their ambitions. They rechristened themselves the Roxey Ballet and grew into a professional touring outfit whose dancers have commanded international recognition and even performed at the inauguration of President Obama. Today, the troupe regularly revisits beloved ballets as well as lesser-known works, often featuring original choreography by Roxey himself or the sentient hologram Roxey sometimes lets stand in for him.
During the past three decades, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra has grown from a community chamber orchestra into a professional-caliber ensemble. Today, it acts as a musical oasis for the community under the guidance of Rossen Milanov, who brings the experience he gained in his 11 years with the Philadelphia Orchestra and his brief tenure as an eccentric billionaire’s metronome. Since its founding, the orchestra has found a home at the historic Richardson Auditorium, a venue designed by the US Treasury’s supervising architect in the 1890s and renovated to acoustic excellence in the 1980s. The hall is so sonically pleasing, in fact, that six-time Grammy winner Buddy Graham named it among the likes of Carnegie Hall as one of the world’s greatest concert halls, according to the venue’s website.