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Memory Book - The Nutcracker (December 8 – 23, 2012)

Radio Disney interview with choreographer Karen Gabay. (30 min)
Karen Gabay's Synopsis Poem for THE NUTCRACKER

Choreography and Scenario: Karen Gabay
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

All photos by Robert Shomler unless otherwise noted.

Click on images to see larger versions
The Party Begins Raymond Rodriguez as Drosselmeire
Drosselmeire presents a gift to Marie Maria Jacobs-Yu as Marie Stahlbaum
Peter Hershey as Nye and Akira Takahashi as Nimble with a Hard Nut Francisco Preciado as Mouse King gives Ramon Moreno as Klaus a nasty bite.
Ramon Moreno as the Nutcracker rallies his troops Maximo Califano as the Rat King
The Mysterious Battle
A Winter Wonderland
Snowflakes and Flurries
Marie is introduced to a Gathering of Nations
Jing Zhang, Damir Emric, Shannon Bynum and Rudy Candia in Spanish
Beth Ann Namey, Maximo Califano and Nunaree Pipit-Suksun in Arabian. Mirai Noda, Akira Takahashi and Junna Ige in Chinese.
Amy Marie Briones and the men of Russian.
Maximo Califano as Mére Maxine Dolls and Les Enfants du Monde
The Waltz of the Flowers
Maria Jacobs-Yu as Marie Maria Jacobs-Yu and Ramon Moreno
The Finale

"…a great escape" with "prodigious dancing and energy. There are sumptuous costumes by the fabulous Theoni V. Aldredge, amazing sets (Paul Kelly), sparkling lighting (David K H. Elliott), and best of all, the Tchaikovsky score, brought to life, juicy life, by George Daugherty, and the Symphony Silicon Valley, with the Cantabile Youth Singers."
Janice Berman, San Francisco Classical Voice
"This year Gabay…joined that still rare breed of women who choreograph major pieces for professional ballet companies. Supported by the Symphony Silicon Valley, under the baton of the ballet's new musical director George Daugherty, she gave her home team and the legion of Nutcracker lovers, a family-friendly, fresh interpretation of the old tale---including a new twist.

Gabay went back to E.T.A. Hoffman's fairy tale and gave us the lowdown about a Prince having been turned into a Nutcracker. An ingenious play within the play, hers is pure slapstick, tightly designed and fabulously performed. Akira Takahashi and Peter Hershey stole the show as the ball-bouncing suitors, Nimble and Nye."

"The national dances are every Nutcracker's balletic highlights. Gabay gave us convincing versions with a feminist touch to some of them. To have Amy Marie Briones, in pointe shoes, whirl pirouettes at center of her barrel-turning male colleagues was inspired. In the Arabian, the lush Beth Ann Namey and Nutnaree-Suksun courted muscled strongman [Maximo] Califano. The four Spanish dancers' short but fiery music had them in and out with a flip of a skirt and flourish of an arm—such a contrast to the Chinese trio whose tiny staccato steps felt like needle pricks."
Rita Felciano, San Jose Mercury News

"With festive sets, elegant costumes, a familiar story and Tchaikovsky's well-known score, The Nutcracker ballet has been an audience favorite and a holiday tradition for decades. Ballet San Jose's new production adds humor, complexity and some stunning new choreography that should keep audiences coming back for years to come."
Virginia Bock, Arts & Entertainment

"This new version of The Nutcracker was without a doubt magical with a romantic tale that unfolds right along with mystery behind an intrigue inside action, twinkling lights, waltzes, magic and of course through flurries, visions and snowflakes – as seen through the eyes of an audience in awe."
P.K. Costa,

"Magic…marks Ballet San Jose's new The Nutcracker… featuring luscious costumes by the late Theoni V. Aldredge and storybook set designs by Paul Kelly. Marie, danced Saturday night by the lovely Maria Jacobs-Yu, is very much the star. No Snow Queen and no Sugar Plum Fairy here. Instead Jacobs-Yu and her handsome and attentive Nutcracker prince, Ramon Moreno, led all of those roles."
Mary Ellen Hunt, San Francisco Chronicle

The Nutcracker        The Nutcracker : Karen Gabay

Program 1        Don Quixote : After Marius Petipa and
               Alexander Gorsky

Program 2        Les Rendezvous : Sir Frederick Ashton
       Méditation from Thaïs : Sir Frederick Ashton
       Clear : Stanton Welch
       Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 : Clark Tippet

Program 3        Duets : Merce Cunningham
       Glow-Stop : Jorma Elo
       Eighty One : Jessica Lang