Among the many classical and contemporary works in the company’s repertoire, The Nutcracker, is perhaps the most well known, and is performed yearly during the Christmas season.
Formed in 1968, the California Ballet was a brainchild of ballet dancer Maxine Mahon, who became the new ballet’s first artistic director. She started off by gathering a group of desperate dancers to fill the void of a professional ballet company operating in San Diego. The ballet’s first major production was in 1971, when it staged The Nutcracker at the Russ Auditorium (which no longer exists). The show was a success, playing in front of sold out audiences, and the following year, the ballet was staged at the San Diego Civic Center. It has been performed there by the California Ballet every year since then.
The California Ballet made the San Diego Civic Theater its permanent home in 1971, and introduced new ballets to its repertoire. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coppelia, and Giselle were some of the new ballets that the company performed.
The 1980’s was a big decade for the company, as they continued to expand. The spending budget increased, and new faces and new ballets were incorporated into the company. Around this time famous ballerina Denise Dabrowski also came to the forefront as part of the Ballet California. In 1989 the company went on a cultural exchange tour to Russia, as they grew to be recognized internationally. The 1980’s saw the company’s increasing repertoire include ballets like California Heritage Project, The Legend of Josefa and Romeo & Juliet.
The ballet continued to build on these strong foundations and over the last forty five years has emerged as one of the leading dance companies in the country. Many international stars, like Ukrainian Vadim Solomakha, have danced with the ballet as its reputation continued to grow across America as well. Every year new works debut at the company’s annual Choreography Concert, as the company tries to preserve this classic art form for the generations that have yet to come.
The Nutcracker is the brainchild of legendary composer Peter Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. Based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the story takes the audience to a world filled with dancing soldiers, waltzing flowers, pirouetting toys, sparkling snowflakes and mischievous mice as they all sway to Tchaikovsky’s legendary score.
Over the years, the famous ballet has become the traditional Christmas present, which almost all major ballet companies in the country, offer to the public in holiday season. It has grown to become an essential part of Christmas festivities in the US. The California Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker has been staged annually since 1971, and this year will be no different, as the famous tradition continues.
The two hour long show will feature one of the most enduring and loved ballet’s in American history being performed by one the best ballet companies in the world.