‘NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet’ returns to Morgantown

“NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” returns to the WVU Canady Creative Arts Center on Nov. 28.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nutcracker.com. Special pricing is available for groups. Call 800-320-1733 or email [email protected].

This year marks the 31st annual North American tour of this family tradition. The 2023 production showcases a record number of international talent, starring principal dancers from the great opera houses of Ukraine and 40 world-class artists from Japan, Italy, Turkey and more. This year introduces a fresh character and incorporates new choreography that blends classical ballet with cutting-edge circus techniques.

One of the highlights is the inclusion of a Cyr Wheel artist.

“The international scale of the production is truly unique. With artistic direction from the birthplace of classical ballet in Kyiv, Ukraine, to rising ballet capitals around the world we have built a world class team,” Dan Talmi, executive producer of Talmi Entertainment and the son of co-founders Mary Giannone and Akiva Talmi, said. “We’re the only nationally touring Nutcracker production, so we strive to top ourselves each year. There is a sense of pride and responsibility when it comes to this show. It has become a holiday tradition in households across the country and our team works year round to give audiences the best of everything – the best talent, production value, costumes – you name it.”

Produced by Talmi Entertainment, “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” sells over a quarter million tickets sold each year. The 2023 production stars Ukrainian ballerinas — gold medalist Karyna Shatkovskaya and Honored Artist of Ukraine Elena Pechenyuk as Clara. The Nutcracker Prince is danced by premiere dancers — gold medalist Batur Buklu from Turkey and Rustem Imangaliev from Kazakhstan. This is also the only production in which Act II takes place in the “Land of Peace and Harmony” and features the signature acro=ballet adagio “Doves of Peace.”

Exclusive to “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet,” “Doves of Peace” features two dancers who come together to form a larger-than-life dove with a 20-foot wingspan that guides Clara and the Nutcracker Prince through the dreamscape of dancing snowflakes to the Prince’s home, the Land of Peace and Harmony, where there are no wars and no children suffer.

In the 2023 production, an addition to the Nutcracker story is the introduction of a new character called The Herald. Representing the spirit of the forest, The Herald announces the arrival of our heroes and leads a celebration in Clara’s honor. During this sequence, Clara encounters 10-foot-tall puppets and dancing couples who symbolize the five great heritages of the world. Each couple bestows a special gift upon Clara, embodying the unique qualities of their respective cultures. From the Persian elephant, she receives wisdom; from the Slavic bear, strength; from the Spanish bull, courage; from the French unicorn, honesty; and from the Chinese dragon, resilience. This addition adds to Clara’s journey and highlights the unity and diversity of the world around her.

“NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” features Broadway-level productions and with theatrical designers from around the world featuring the artistry of scenic designers, prop builders and puppeteers from Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Chuvash, St. Petersburg and New York.

The show’s marionettes, crafted in the image of the Nutcrackers beloved characters Clara, Drosselmeyer, Kissy Doll and Harlequin, were created by Petre Puppeteer using 3-D modeling and printing. The flock of doves were created by South African creature builder and puppeteer Roger Titley, of “War Horse” fame, who also created the production’s firebird and peacock that appear in Act II. The current reimagination of the animal puppets were designed by the legendary Nino Novellino and built by American craftsmen using modern, light-weight techniques.

The ballet also features costumes by Arthur Oliver and hand-painted drops by scenic designer Carl Sprague, frequent concept illustrator for filmmaker Wes Anderson. The final spectacle and centerpiece of the last act features a Christmas tree, handcrafted by European artisans, that grows to 100 feet.