RU's Nutcracker is a study in pure collaboration


The magic in "The Nutcracker” ballet goes beyond the mesmerizing Tchaikovsky holiday story. In Radford University’s biennial production, the enchantment comes from collaborative effort.

"The 'Nutcracker' production is truly the college's pinnacle performance event as it seamlessly integrates the expertise and support of the academic departments, the community outreach program Radford University Ballet Youth (RUBY), internationally renowned guest artists and professional musicians throughout our region," says Margaret Devaney, dean of the RU College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).

"The Nutcracker" has been an RU tradition since 1982. Since 2006, this year marks Associate Professor Inessa Plekhanova's fifth year of original choreography and direction of dancers, musicians, actors, artists and the local community.

This year's guest artists are Humberto Teixeiro in the title role; Mari Sugawa as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mikhail Ronnikov as the Cavalier. RU student Christa Rockney will play the lead, Clara.

The production features many young dancers of the RUBY programs. Ruthie Brown, now 11, recalls being part of RUBY and the cast when she was preschool age.

"I remember being up on the big stage in the lights," Brown said. "I was a little nervous about having all of those people watching us, but it was my first experience onstage. It gave me confidence for the other times when I performed in community theatre or spoke in front of my class at school."


Collaborators also include other departments of the CVPA. The Department of Art's graphic design program designs posters and programs; and the Department of Theatre provides additional cast members and production assistance.

"The RU College of Visual and Performing Arts distinguishes itself by being one of the few arts colleges across the country to stage a full-length 'Nutcracker' production," Devaney said. "The rehearsal process and performances offer our students a wonderful experiential opportunity which requires a tremendous amount of talent, discipline, commitment and collaborative spirit."

"The Nutcracker" will be onstage at Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-15. There will be two matinees that start at 2 p.m. Nov. 15-16. For ticket information, visit the CVPA website.

Tickets holders are invited to a special "Children's Tea with Clara and Friends" immediately following Sunday's matinee performance. This is included in the ticket price and is sponsored by RU arts supporter Johann Norstedt. For reservations, please call 540-831-5407.

Nov 4, 2014