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Sometimes you feel like a nut


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POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2009

The holidays wouldn't be the same without the traditional “;Nutcracker”; performances that play host to dancing snowflakes, toy soldiers and an array of colorful characters that bring a fantastical world to life.

All three major productions have qualities that are added into the performances making them unique. For example, renowned principal dancers are flown in for Ballet Hawaii's production at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette play the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Tony nominee John Selya also makes an appearance as Uncle Drosselmeyer. Costumes were designed by Anne Namba and Ballet Hawaii incorporates the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus into the production.

Under the direction of John Landovsky, Hawaii State Ballet prides itself on using only the school's local dancers for principal roles.

“;We do bring in two male dancers for partnering,”; he explained. Carlos Chang, named Hawaii's favorite dancer on “;Destination Groove Dance Hawaii”;—the local version of the hit show, “;So You Think You Can Dance”;—will be cast in the roles of the Cavalier and Snow King.

Landovsky also likes the intimacy that Mamiya Theatre offers.

“;We are in a smaller theater, the audience is closer to the stage,”; he said. And, brightly colored costumes are also among the production's highlights. Many productions use dull colors, lots of browns and dark greens.

“;It's Christmas, so things should be bright and exciting,”; he explained.

And, folks heading to the Saturday or Sunday matinee “;Nutcracker”; performance of Hawaii Ballet Theatre at Leeward Community College can enjoy a complimentary “;Sugarplum Tea”; following the show. Dancers will be available to meet the audience and take photos; Santa Claus also will make a special appearance.

Another highlight of Hawaii Ballet Theatre's production is the return of Kupono Aweau, who is back in Hawaii and joins the cast after his national tour with “;So You Think You Can Dance.”;

THIS SEASON'S 'NUTCRACKER' PRODUCTIONS:

Ballet Hawaii
» Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
» When: 8 p.m. Dec. 18; also 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 2 p.m. Dec. 20
» Cost: $35, $55 and $75; $150 opening night VIP packages also available and include a pre-show dinner, VIP seating and post-show reception
» Info: (800) 745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com
Hawaii Ballet Theatre
» Where: Leeward Community College
» When: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 20
» Cost: $25 general admission, $22 for children, military and seniors ($16 student tickets available for Saturday evening performances
» Info: 456-8100 or visit www.hawaiiballettheatre.org
Hawaii State Ballet
» Where: Mamiya Theatre, 3142 Waialae Ave.
» When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; also 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 20
» Cost: $20-$30 (discounts available)
» Info: 947-2755 or 550-8457; or visit www.hawaiistateballet.com/tickets

KNOW YOUR 'NUTCRACKER'

» The “;Nutcracker”; is a ballet by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composed in 1891 to 1892.
» The ballet is based on the book “;The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”; written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816.
» In 1892, the first “;Nutcracker”; performance was held at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia, home of the Kirov Ballet.
» The first American full-length “;Nutcracker”; was performed by the San Francisco Ballet in 1944. Since then, it has become an annual holiday tradition.