Patt Diroll: Joffrey brings Nutcracker back to L.A.

December 11, 2011
Pasadena-Star NEws
Pat Diroll

Patt Diroll: Joffrey brings Nutcracker back to L.A
Joffrey Ballet dancers from left, Rory Hohenstein, Ricardo Santos, Aaron Rogers, Fabio Lo Giudice, Raul Casasola (sitting), Shane Urton during the CDA The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker event. (Photo by Giselle Garcia-Schatz)  

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without "The Nutcracker' because Tchaikovsky's venerable ballet is as much a holiday tradition as Santa Claus and the Christmas tree. The Joffrey Ballet's rendition of the classic story, with its creative costumes and imaginative sets, had been an annual event at the Music Center until its move to Chicago in 1995, and at last, after 17 years, the Joffrey returned to Los Angeles on Dec. 1 for six performances of The Nutcracker at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The late Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino's uniquely American spin on E.T.A. Hoffmann's 1816 tale of "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" premiered at the University of Iowa in 1987 and had its Music Center premiere the following year. What a joy it was

Joffrey Ballet Dancer Yumelia Garcia and Elizabeth Levitt Hirch during the CDA The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker event. (Photo by Giselle Garcia-Schatz) to have the company back in L.A., complete with vintage costumes and designer Kermit Love's innovative creations including the giant Mother Ginger puppet, in her 100-yard dress.


Mounting this extravaganza is no mean feat. The show requires 42 dancers, more than 90 children, 40 musicians, eight gumdrops, 12 snow wands, 12 rifles, 24 pounds of flower petals, 50 pounds of paper snow, 12 dressers - for 200 costumes and 172 pairs of boots, a snow-glitter pony, and a 23-foot Christmas tree.

After the final curtain call, first-nighters gathered for spiced cider and dessert with the company dancers and director Ashley Wheater, in the Pavilion's Founders' Room. The most interesting attendees were the adorable children, especially the

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