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

leave a comment

An infusion of ‘now’ into Trisha Brown Dance Company

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

leave a comment

Blake Edwards cool neo-noir ‘Experiment in Terror’ in 60th anniv screening

shot on location san francisco early 60s Movie director Blake Edwards, known primarily as a comedy specialist, followed the biggest hit of his early career, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with a complete change of pace, the neo-noir thriller, Experiment in Terror. In this a taut suspenser released in 1962, Edwards utilized a full range of stylistic ...

Elizabeth! OC arts patron honors exiled Russian ballet dancers in Segerstrom gala

“Reunited in Dance,” was a gala so glorious, so glamorous, so grand that it would normally take a village to produce. But perhaps you haven’t met Elizabeth Segerstrom. A Polish-born, Russian-speaking dynamo who holds a doctoral degree in psychology, she is an accomplished entrepreneur and published author. Elizabeth (everyone calls her that) threw a ballet ...

Composer Inon Zur: symphonic scores for video games

Film · Music
noreen green, inon zur, emily bear (at piano)photo courtesy los angeles jewish symphony When The Grammys™ added a brand-new category earlier this year—‘Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media’—it was in acknowledgment of musical excellence. But it also had to do with business. Big business. In 2022, video gaming is primed to ...

Jacopo Tisi nails grand jete in ‘Corsaire,’ part of ‘Reunited in Dance’ 1

That’s a grand jete that packs a wallop. Just sensational. Every element of the Italian-born danseur noble Jacopo Tisi‘s position is proper. His legs are equally rotated outward in his hip joints; his feet are fully stretched; the arcing curve in his spine that finishes at the top of his head is sublime; his arms ...

The joy of ‘Nutcracker’ puppetry, courtesy of Bob Baker Marionettes

Dance · Theater
Where puppet-theater is concerned, the “fun for kids of all ages” slogan is almost a cliche. And yet, it really applies. I am enchanted by the stringed shenanigans that are standard fare at Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Cuz, you get two shows in one, right? You get to watch the cleverly coiffed-and-garbed herky-jerky puppets … ...

French animated films, avec baguette

Animation Fest at TRK, a compilation of 13 short French animated films created by young film makers from renowned French animation schools, contains themes best digested by adults — the richness and variety of the proposed selection tackle eclectic themes and current issues, turning a critical gaze on modern society using the power of animation. ...

Tyrone Power, still vital in his movies

Hey, he was Ty Power. The dashing, dark-eyed actor, who descended from a long line of them, and whose name, in 1939, nearly topped the list of Twentieth Century-Fox’s biggest box-office earners, starred in dozens of movies, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads. His better-known titles include The Mark of Zorro, Marie Antoinette, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of ...

‘Expo’-nentially ‘Googie’

Architecture & Design
poster by shag ed. note: We recently heard from Friend of Arts Meme (FOAM), Chris Nichols, fresh off his annual Halloween ‘Spooky Tour,’ now rarin’ to go with a massive, global-scaled, and far-reaching event, GOOGIE WORLD EXPO, on a Sunday afternoon. It all happens in GOOGIE world headquarters (for a day) in Van Nuys, CA. ...