The New Ballet Makes the Nutcracker Part of the San Jose Family

11/02/2018

San Jose, CA October 1, 2018—While some major ballet companies bring authenticity to their annual Nutcracker by adhering to tradition, San Jose's The New Ballet creates their own tradition by making the Nutcracker a familiar relative within the San Jose family. For this year's Nutcracker the New Ballet has announced a collaboration that incorporates local artists into the traditional production, making The Nutcracker their own.

This year's collaboration includes Los Lupeños Juvenil, the College of Adaptive Arts, Ragazzi Boys Chorus, drag artist George Downes, and painter and muralist Lacey Bryant. All will join with the New Ballet Studio Company and School to bring local flavors and colors to the 2018 production of The San Jose Nutcracker.

The San Jose Nutcracker photo by Bari Lee
The San Jose Nutcracker photo by Bari Lee

Since its premiere in 2016, The San Jose Nutcracker has been focused on representing the culture of the San Jose area. In emphasizing local vitality in the production, The New Ballet's Artistic Director and Choreographer Dalia Rawson said, "This special ballet celebrates San Jose and the history and heritage that helped make our hometown the center of innovation and creativity it is today."

Celebrating their fiftieth anniversary, Los Lupeños Juvenil is the youth performing ensemble of Groupo Folklórico Los Lupeños de San Jose. Dancers from the group, who will perform alongside the classical ballet dancers, will be featured in the Bougainvillea section of the second act of the ballet, with choreography by Los Lupeños Artistic Director Samuel Cortez.

The College of Adaptive Arts of San Jose uses the arts to help adults with disabilities to become successful, contributing citizens. Performers from their School of Dance will perform an opening number on their own at the Christmas Eve performance at 2:00pm. Director of the CAA School of Dance Janet Heathcote said, "We are looking forward to expanding our collaborations with New Ballet, and can't wait to perform on December 24th."

The internationally recognized Ragazzi Boys Chorus will perform in the Land of Snow scene along with The New Ballet Orchestra, led by conductor Thomas Shoebotham. "We are thrilled about the Ragazzi Boys Choir's participation," said Shoebotham, "Adding the element of a live choir to our full symphony orchestra will make this year's production even more magical."

Contributing to the originality of this year's production is the artistry of drag artist George Downes, aka Woo Woo Monroe, who performs in the role of Casa de Fruta. Sponsored by the iconic Hollister-based fruit stand of the same name, Casa de Fruta leads her dancing cherries, apricots, and plums in the Valley of Heart's Delight, an earlier sobriquet for Santa Clara Valley .

In addition to dancers, local fine artist and muralist Lacey Bryant completes her three year-long project of creating the stage scenery for the party scene in this year's production. In previous productions Bryant created a skyline of 1905 San Jose and hanging set pieces to frame the stage. This year she has completed the scenery with a large wall piece. The set for the first scene of the ballet is loosely inspired by Villa Montalvo, with whimsical elements such as painted tiles inspired by California poppies and portraits of supporters of The New Ballet Studio Company and School. A fervent lover of ballet, Lacey said, "I met director Dalia Rawson when she purchased one of my paintings that was inspired by her dancers on stage. I'm looking forward to continued collaborations with The New Ballet."

The San Jose Nutcracker appears at the Hammer Theatre Center from December 14th through 24th. For tickets see sanjosenutcracker.com or call 408-924-8501.