The story centers around a young German girl who dreams of a nutcracker prince, a fierce battle against a mouse king and a whimsical journey through enchanted lands. Peter Tchaikovsky composed the music for the ballet, which made its debut in
Chicago Festival Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is choreographed by the company’s founder and director, Kenneth von Heidecke. Known for an artistic style that underscores the precision and discipline of ballet, von Heidecke aptly blends technical prowess, refined athleticism and crowd-pleasing acrobatics in his acclaimed version of the holiday classic.
Coupled with festive staging, the production is brought to life by a diverse cast of company members whose credentials include the Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Ballet Internacional de Caracas and Luna Negra Dance Theatre. The 80-member New Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor and Music Director Kirk Muspratt, is to perform Tchaikovsky’s score.
Since its founding in 1990, Chicago Festival Ballet has performed in hundreds of venues around the world, receiving accolades for its commitment to technical excellence and often collaborating with other artistic disciplines as a means of stimulating growth and creativity.
Serving as Chicago Festival Ballet's honorary artistic advisor is Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Maria Tallchief, director of Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet. Tallchief was the original Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine’s 1954 version of “The Nutcracker.”
Von Heidecke began training with Tallchief in 1975 while working as a dancer for the Lyric Opera Ballet, where Tallchief was artistic director until 1981. She continued to coach him as he began his choreography career in the 1980s. In 1990, von Heidecke founded Chicago Festival Ballet as a touring ballet company, with Tallchief’s direction and support.
In 1997, von Heidecke launched his international career by presenting four premiere works for “An Evening of Ballet” at the Badisches Staatstheater in Germany. He received a 20-minute ovation and wide critical acclaim in European publications. Since then, he has received accolades for his work with dozens of major opera and ballet companies and has choreographed more than 50 works around the world. In spring 2008, he is to choreograph “Aida” for San Diego Opera.
Von Heidecke also has performed with Maria Tallchief's Chicago City Ballet, BalletMet, and Carla Fracci's company in Verona, Italy. He has choreographed for the Opera Company of the Los Angeles Music Center, the Dallas Opera, the San Diego Opera, and the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, among others.
The National Machinery Foundation is sponsoring the Ritz’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”
Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students. For more information, contact The Ritz Theatre Box Office online at http://www.ritztheatre.org'>www.ritztheatre.org or call (419) 448-8544.