Moscow Comes to RJR

Emelie Patti, Staff Writer

By Emelie Patti

The Great Russian Nutcracker, performed by the Moscow Ballet, has become a Christmas tradition in North America since 1993. The Moscow Ballet goes around the country performing this classic ballet and bringing Christmas spirit to all.

   The original Nutcracker was first performed in Russia in 1892 but traveled across the world so many more theatres could perform their own interpretation. The Moscow Ballet and director, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, made it their own by creating many more unique elements to the traditional holiday story.

   With RJ Reynolds students in luck, the Moscow Ballet does a program called Come Dance With Me, where they have students audition for the Christmas performance. RJR dance teachers, Amelia Hailey and Caitie Reece volunteered to take part this year. Allowing a ballerina from Moscow, Maria Morari, to host auditions for RJR students to perform with the ballet. Allie Valaoras, a RJR student dancer, welcomed Maria Morari to her home while she was conducting auditions.

   “She was a very nice house guest to have,” Valaoras said.  She actually helped me study for a test that I had which was kind of cool and she got along with my family well.”

   Many RJR dancers were very eager to perform and learn with professionals like Morari. Practicing with many professional dancers can be intimidating and stressful but many students found a positive outcome with their dancing performance.

   “It’s been super fun to see the growth of myself and the other dancers through this experience because just through the rehearsals we have had after school we’ve been able to really grasp the choreography better,” Senior Chelsea Hignite said. “This version of the nutcracker, has variation and the technique is slightly different than the traditional ballet that I’ve learned. So it’s been really neat to expand my knowledge of ballet and get to learn something different.”

   With the students practicing every week, they are not only improving their dancing skills but their confidence shows major improvement as well. The students and teachers are able to see how much of an effect it has on the students.

   “The audition definitely had an effect on them because it was a true russian ballet audition where you sat down and watched other people and then stood up and did your performance,” Hailey said. “It really helps them understand what it takes to be a professional. Ballet is a very detailed art form and alot of our student like to rush through the detail and so having such a great inspiration as our ballerina from Russia [Maria Morari] it really helped them understand that its very important to pay attention to the details.”

   The ballet is being held in the Reynolds Auditorium on November 26. The Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed by the Moscow Ballet along with RJR students. The performers have worked very hard since September to make sure that the performance brings holiday spirit into the mix as well as  prolonging the tradition for the Moscow Ballet. It brings great honor to RJR students to be part of a such a classic ballet and creates experiences that the RJR community will never forget.