The Nutcracker Comes to Los Angeles

Three VNHS ballet dancers have been selected to perform with Russian professional dancers in "The Great Russian Nutcracker."

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The Nutcracker Comes to Los Angeles

Three VNHS ballet dancers pose before they begin practice for the upcoming holiday performance, the “Nutcracker”

Three VNHS ballet dancers pose before they begin practice for the upcoming holiday performance, the “Nutcracker”

Courtesy of Emma Burman

Three VNHS ballet dancers pose before they begin practice for the upcoming holiday performance, the “Nutcracker”

Courtesy of Emma Burman

Courtesy of Emma Burman

Three VNHS ballet dancers pose before they begin practice for the upcoming holiday performance, the “Nutcracker”

By Chau Tran, Staff Writer

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It wouldn’t be the holiday season without the Russian ballet “The Nutcracker.”

This year, three Dance students, senior Gabbie Santos, sophomore Sophia Ortner and junior Emma Berman have been chosen to perform with the Moscow Ballet in a special production of an adaptation titled “Great Russian Nutcracker.”

As part of the Moscow Ballet’s touring schedule, the dance troupe will perform at the Wiltern Theatre in Koreatown and the Soraya Performing Arts Center on the California State University Northridge campus.

The Moscow Ballet is a ballet company composed of Russian dancers who train in the Russian Vaganova ballet method. They tour North America and perform various ballet pieces, including “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella.”

Santos will be performing two shows on Dec. 15 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. Berman and Ortner will be performing in single shows on Dec. 14 at the Wiltern and Dec. 19 at the Soraya.

Both Santos and Berman will play Snow Sprites—with Santos performing the Chinese Variation and Snow Sprite and Berman performing the Russian Variation and Snow Sprite. Ortner will perform as the Snow Maiden and the Chinese Variation.

Based on the E.T.A Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” the ballet revolves around the story of a girl named Masha Stahlbaum, who receives a wooden nutcracker as a present for Christmas. However, the nutcracker comes to life and battle against the evil Mouse King to defend Masha from an army of mice.

Before Santos and Berman auditioned for the show, they had the opportunity to take a master class with the audition director, a soloist from the Moscow Ballet.

The Moscow Ballet has a program called “Dance With Us” that holds auditions with dance studios in various cities of their scheduled performances, such as the Los Angeles Dance Academy and Sherman Oaks Dance Academy.  Dancers must pre-register in order to audition for the ballets. Young dancers audition to play minor roles on stage with the professional dancers.

“It’s an awesome program that lets us experience performing on a professional stage alongside professional dancers in front of a large audience,” Berman said.

Audition director Olena Pedan and a soloist from the Moscow Ballet divides potential dancers into three groups by age during the auditioning process. Dancers are asked to perform various segments of the roles they wish to play—Snow Sprite, Russian variation, Chinese variation and Snow Maiden.

Dancers were evaluated based on their skills and sizes due to the limited amount of costumes available.