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“This is my fifth year performing in the show,” said Sema Lew, 12, a seventh-grader at Montera Middle School. “I’m a snowball as well as a Chinese Emperor. Getting to dance with professional dancers is really something. My snowball costume has so many parts including pillows front and back to make it puff out more. Luckily, we have lots of rehearsals to get used to dancing in it.”. Joining Sema this year is her 9-year-old sister Ayla, who plays a Sugar Plum Fairy attendant.
“The dance is very cool, and I hope to be a part of the show again next year,” said Ayla Lew, a fourth-grader at Thornhill Elementary School, I’ve always thought it was important to integrate young children into the ballet slippers essie piece,” Lustig said, “For instance, children aren’t usually in the snow scene, but we have them playing these wonderful fluffy snowballs that are made out of layers of tulle, the same material used in a ballerina’s tutu, I love using local singing groups like the Mt, Eden (High School) Women’s Ensemble, It all comes down to the local community, which we are very much a part of.”..
A fitting part of the company’s golden anniversary season, “The Nutcracker” performs at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 19 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway. This will be the sixth year that the company performs artistic director Graham Lustig’s version of the perennial favorite. Known for his vivid storytelling, sparkling choreography and often comic touches, Lustig approaches each production with exuberant energy. “The first time I saw ‘The Nutcracker,’ I was swept away. Tchaikovsky’s magnificent music and the beautiful story — what a gift,” Lustig said.
Born in ballet slippers essie England and having danced with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet, among others, Lustig had not seen or danced in “The Nutcracker” while growing up, “In Europe, those companies don’t do the show but here in the United States, dancers have been dancing it since they were 8 years old,” he said, To make the ballet his own, Lustig moved it from Victorian times to the Edwardian period, “I wanted the ballet to be emotionally free as well as to free the choreography from having to deal with dancers in hoop skirts and bonnets,” he said..
“The choreography is the same each year but the dancers add their own little nuances to each performance that intensifies the richness of the ballet.”. One of those dancers is Jackie McConnell, who has been with the Oakland Ballet for six years. “Graham is a wonderful storyteller and he adds so much detail to the ballet,” she said. “For example, in the party scene, there is actual dancing, which doesn’t usually happen, and each character has a very detailed story.
“I’m not just a mom at the party, but I’m an Austrian mother with lots of children visiting from the country farm, So many fun interactions and relationships take place without taking focus away from the main action, “I notice something new each year.”, McConnell also likes the way Lustig’s choreography blends with Tchaikovsky’s music, “He uses a lot of dance steps that make the production very lively and entertaining,” McConnell said, Making the music come alive is the Oakland East Bay Symphony ballet slippers essie under the direction of Michael Morgan..
“Michael’s glorious music along with the Mt. Eden (High School) Women’s Ensemble brings such richness to the production, and then you add the magnificence of the Paramount Theatre and it becomes an event to remember,” Lustig said. Also adding to the richness and fun of the production are the more than 40 student dancers, aged 7 to 17, who dance such roles as snowballs, mice, soldiers and candies. “This is my fifth year performing in the show,” said Sema Lew, 12, a seventh-grader at Montera Middle School.
“I’m a snowball as well as a Chinese Emperor, Getting to dance with professional dancers is really something, “My snowball costume has so ballet slippers essie many parts including pillows front and back to make it puff out more, Luckily, we have lots of rehearsals to get used to dancing in it.”, Joining Sema this year is her 9-year-old sister Ayla, who plays a Sugar Plum Fairy attendant, “The dance is very cool, and I hope to be a part of the show again next year,” said Ayla Lew, a fourth-grader at Thornhill Elementary School..