Warmth, beauty, diversity: ABT’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at Segerstrom Center

Dance · Music
From Act I of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

The world has started to feel at tad more normal, right? One key way that is so important for us all, but especially for our children is the return to the theater. Yes, the careful among us still wear face masks — totally fine. Some theaters require them. But overall, the best way to enjoy the festive feel of the holidays is to be among others.

What better way than to sit back and take in the pleasure of The Nutcracker delivered by the great classical-ballet dancers of our national company, American Ballet Theatre, in a production choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky with live accompaniment by the world-class Pacific Symphony. All of this in a splendid setting — Segerstrom’s beautiful Orange County campus is Southern California’s mecca of performing arts. A generous 10-day, 20-performance window is available for audiences from December 9 – 18, with matinees, evenings, and every reason to bring all generations together.

ABT in recent years has striven to boost an array of dancers reflective of the multicultural communities that the company serves. That rainbow coalition is indicated in the casting list for the principal roles, just released.

The toy soldiers, oversized mice, sparkling snowflakes and a glittering Christmas tree and Tchaikovsky’s transformative music. Put down that phone, and go!

American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker | Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts | Dec 9-18

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An infusion of ‘now’ into Trisha Brown Dance Company

Dance
judith sánchez ruíz   credit: arnaud beelen

Interesting news from Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC) in New York: the 50+ year-old dance company has announced its first creative commission since the death of its founding choreographer Trisha Brown in 2017. Cuban-born choreographer Judith Sánchez Ruíz, who was a TBDC member from 2006 to 2009, has been the first artist to receive such a commission, giving the company an opportunity to engage with a contemporary artistic voice but one with a connection to Brown’s work, while reaffirming its primary role of preserving Brown’s legacy. 

Currently a teacher and repetiteur of Brown’s work, Sánchez Ruíz assisted Brown in the creation of I love my robots (2007), and L’Amour au théatre (2009) and has been instrumental in restaging Set and Reset/Reset and Glacial Decoy. Her new original piece, Let’s talk about bleeding, with music by Cuban composer Adonis Gonzalez, will premiere during the company’s Spring 2023 season at The Joyce Theater.

Judith Sánchez Ruíz began her dance studies at the age of eleven at the National School of Arts in Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba. The choreographer, performer, and teacher worked in New York City from 1999 to 2011, before relocating to Berlin. She has performed the works of notable choreographers including Sasha Waltz, Deborah Hay, Trisha Brown, She founded JSR Company in NYC in 2010, creating numerous choreographic staged works and site-specific projects with innovative composers and visual artists throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin American, and Asia. 

trisha brown credit: c. marc ginot

TBDC Executive Director Barbara Dufty says, “After years of being dedicated solely to the presentation and preservation of works by Trisha Brown, the company believes it is now also important to place Brown’s body of work in conversation with contemporary sensibilities. This venture reflects TBDC’s commitment to keep Brown’s work alive in today’s dance landscape, while also fulfilling its primary mission of presenting Brown’s own work.”

Judith Sánchez Ruíz new work | Trisha Brown Dance Company | The Joyce Theater | Spring 2023

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