For many people, seeing a performance of The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition, and none of us can escape the music once the Christmas season cranks up. The Atlanta Ballet invited Weekend Express behind the scenes of its production at the historic Fox Theater.
This production looks and feels very different from the ballet that many of us grew up with. Though the ballet's origins are thoroughly Russian (debuting in Moscow with music from Tchaikovsky), the original story was written by a German author, E.T.A. Hoffmann and most productions stick with the German names and look. The Atlanta Ballet, however, took the story to Russia. "There's something about Russian winters...Dr. Zhivago, sleigh rides and piles of snow...we wanted to bring that to the audience." says artistic director John McFall. So "Clara" and "Mother Ginger" become "Marya" and "Mother Matrushka."
Ballerina Alessa Rogers dances the role of Maria, whose nutcracker comes to life and takes her on a magical adventure. She showed us what goes in to putting on a production like The Nutcracker, including the astounding number of toe shoes that she goes through in a week!