The Atlanta Ballet presents A WHOLE NEW ‘NUTCRACKER’

nutcracker

Atlanta Ballet’s first fresh holiday show in 2 decades

was 2 years in the making. Creators hint

that it will be brimming with surprises.


Atlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” runs Dec. 8-24 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. 

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CURTAIN UP on the glow and oh-so-pretty snow. It’s finally time to crack open a whole new Nutcracker because, as Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin says, every generation deserves its own.

Choreographer Yuri Possokhov in rehearsal for the new “Nutcracker.” Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin describes his friend as “a child in big-person pants” and calls his work “amazing.” Photo: Kim Kenney

Choreographer Yuri Possokhov in rehearsal for the new “Nutcracker.” Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin describes his friend as “a child in big-person pants” and calls his work “amazing.” Photo: Kim Kenney

Nedvigin, a Bolshoi-trained artist, became the fourth artistic director in the company’s 89-year history two seasons ago. He last danced with San Francisco Ballet, and moved to Atlanta knowing he’d help oversee an all-new Nutcracker ballet.

Young people who grew up attending its predecessor, a storybook production staged for 23 seasons, are continuing the tradition. The old version was set against rich, jewel-toned backdrops that evoked 19th-century Russia. It blended clever comedic moments and ethereal classical ballet sequences with thrilling pas de deux.

Nedvigin’s new $3.7 million staging, choreographed by friend and Russian-born dancer Yuri Possokhov, returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story, “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It places the opening Christmas Eve party scene in a small German village.


A magical uncle

With dream-versus-reality notions, along with toy soldiers and snowflakes and such, The Nutcracker opens its imagination wide to artistic invention. But its central story line often remains: a magical uncle figure brings handmade toys to children at the party. Among them is a nutcracker, which is soon broken. A young girl named Marie checks on it in the middle of the night and discovers it has come to life. The nutcracker battles a mouse king, and then turns into a prince who carries Marie off to a fantasy kingdom inhabited by dolls.

A costume fitting with designer Sandra Woodall. Photo: Kim Kenney

A costume fitting with designer Sandra Woodall. Photo: Kim Kenney

Hoffmann’s tale contained bleak, even scary elements. As a leader in the German Romantic movement, he was accustomed to writing fantasy and Gothic horror, with tales full of inanimate objects coming to life. In 1844, French writer Alexandre Dumas toned down much of the darkness in Hoffmann’s story. An all-new Nutcracker, which premiered in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, paired the lighter Dumas telling with the familiar Tchaikovsky score.

The ballet was not an immediate hit, finding success gradually and chiefly after 1954, when George Balanchine created a version for New York City Ballet. Atlanta audiences have seen that version, too, and until now the one choreographed by Possokhov predecessor John McFall. Possokhov’s ballet is unlike either of those.

“Yuri is truly a child in big-person pants,” Nedvigin says. “He has such a great sense of creativeness inside him. The dancers can prove my words. He truly becomes a child and runs and plays when he is creating. It’s amazing to watch him. We’ll be having dinner, and you will see him just sort of float away. You discover he is making steps in the air.”

The ‘firepower’

Atlanta Ballet hints that its new  Nut “will rival a Broadway show in terms of production firepower.” A versatile team was assembled to help make that happen:

A costume rendering for Christmas Eve party guests by designer Sandra Woodall.

A costume rendering for Christmas Eve party guests by designer Sandra Woodall.

SCENIC DESIGNER TOM PYE sometimes designs costumes as well. He received a Tony nomination for the scenic design of Broadway’s 2004 Fiddler on the Roof revival.

COSTUME DESIGNER SANDRA WOODALL has done costumes and scenery for prominent ballet companies around the world. She designed costumes for Atlanta Ballet’s Helen Pickett-choreographed Camino Real (2017). A “costume can be absolutely stunning,” Pickett says, “but it cannot take away from what the body is doing … how the body describes the story … and Sandra understands that.”

LIGHTING DESIGNER DAVID FINN did lights and scenery for Camino Real. Next for him are world premieres of The Little Prince for the National Ballet of Canada and Frankenstein for London’s Royal Ballet.

PROJECTION DESIGNER FINN ROSS did scenery for Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Frozen and Mean Girls. He won London’s Olivier Award (2012) and Broadway’s Tony Award (2014) for the scenic design of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He and his team spent nine months making the short, three-dimensional film shown during the overture.

And that’s not all. Robert Allsopp, known in  theater circles for his sculptural costumes, was hired to create mice costumes and some headpieces. His work is among more than 250 costumes this Nut uses, many hand-dyed and handcrafted in the United States and three other countries.

Friends & colleagues

Possokhov and Nedvigin have known each other for 18 years. Both were San Francisco Ballet principals near the ends of their performing careers, which also is when Possokhov’s choreographic reputation began growing.

“Oh, so many wonderful surprises,” promises artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. “So much more is possible.” Photo: Hyosub Shin

“Oh, so many wonderful surprises,” promises artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. “So much more is possible.” Photo: Hyosub Shin

The Nutcracker is rooted in Tchaikovsky’s music,” Possokhov says, and gives choreographers “much room for imagination.” Its magic is “its ability to bring people together — children, parents, grandparents, friends, people from all different backgrounds and various faiths.”

Atlanta Ballet calls the new production “a Nutcracker for our time,” without getting too specific. “You will lose your mind to it,” Nedvigin says, “and will forget what is outside the theater walls. You will be transported to a completely different world.”

Nedvigin and Possokhov want audiences to have a hard time discerning what is and isn’t real “but in a good way.” Almost whispering, Nedvigin says, “Oh, so many wonderful surprises. So much more is possible. One time will not be enough to see it or love it.”

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Giant sculptures return to Atlanta Botanical Garden on May 5

imaginary worlds botanical garden

THE GIANT TOPIARY EXHIBITION Imaginary Worlds returns May 5 to the Atlanta Botanical Garden with an all-new menagerie of living plant sculptures. The show runs through Oct. 28 and can be seen at both the Midtown and Gainesville locations.

Photos: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Photos: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Imaginary Worlds first lumbered into the Garden in 2013/14, returning now by popular demand and mostly with creations that have never been seen before. The sculptures, which will be seen inside and out, are mostly custom-made and come from  the nonprofit International Mosaiculture of Montreal.

The  sculptures — steel forms covered in soil-and-sphagnum moss and planted with thousands of meticulously groomed plants — will be staged in 14 installations. In Midtown, look for a giant phoenix towering over the Alston Overlook, as a mermaid lounging beside Howell Fountain, a massive dragon and sleeping princess near the Great Lawn, a peacock inside the Fuqua Orchid Center, and three camels making their way through the Skyline Garden. The Gainesville landscape, meanwhile, will see such characters as a friendly ogre, panda bears and frolicking frogs.

The process began taking root about six months ago when conceptual drawings were done in Montreal, metal frames were fabricated and plant palettes were chosen. The empty frames were shipped to Atlanta in January, where the Garden’s horticulturists began covering them with a mesh fabric and stuffing them with soil. More than 200,000 plants, mostly annuals, were inserted one by one. The sculptures were built in sections and planted inside a greenhouse outside the city, then trucked to the Garden when the weather warmed for assembly. 

The exhibit is free with Garden admission ($21.95; $15.95 ages 3-12; under 3 and Garden members free in Midtown). From May through October, the Garden is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; and 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Thursday featuring illuminated sculptures and Cocktails in the Garden. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.876.5859.

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MOTOAMERICA’S SUZUKI CHAMPIONSHIP DESCENDS ON ROAD ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND

Tony Hawk motoamerica suzuki

The MotoAmerica Suzuki Championship descends upon Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia this weekend, Friday April 13 through Sunday, April 15, 2018.  This can't-miss event includes three full days of motorcycle road racing, freestyle BMX, skateboarding, stunts, and live music… plus Tony Hawk and Friends getting rad on a 40-foot skate/BMX ramp on Saturday and Sunday.  If all that's not enough, the event features The Wall of Death motorcycle stunt riders, an interactive kids zone with Stryder bikes, a pump track, Mini Moto exhibitions and bounce houses, and renowned DJ Jayceeoh spinning a special set on Saturday.  While the demos, skating, BMX and motorcycle stunts and races last all weekend, Hawk will be skating on Saturday only on his personal, state-of-the-art vert ramp brought in just for the event. 

Five classes will compete in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta: Superbike (Saturday and Sunday), Supersport (Saturday and Sunday), Junior Cup (Saturday and Sunday), Twins Cup (Saturday) and Stock 1000 (Sunday). Practice and qualifying will be held on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, WERA will race its 1000 Superbike class on Sunday.

Action enthusiasts looking for the full experience, can treat themselves to VIP Full Throttle ticket packages that includes entrance to the incredible M2 Lounge — luxury suites and stages that deliver the ultimate viewing experience for all the action. Besides complimentary food and drink, VIP goers will experience meet-and-greets with riders and Maxim magazine hostesses, escorted pit lane access, and a chance to walk the track and see first-hand the twists and curves that make MotoAmerica one of the world's most exciting new sports. 

MotoAmerica’s Full Throttle ticket package will cost $119 prior to April 11 and $149 after April 11, and that package is nearly sold out. Premier VIP Parking is available for $50 prior to April 11 and $75 after April 11.  There is also a VIP Full Throttle ticket package that includes entrance to the M2 Lounge – luxury suites that deliver the ultimate viewing experience for all the action. The VIP Full Throttle ticket package is available for $299 for the two-day experience.

For more information, the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit http://motoamerica.com

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Wine Down at the Sixth Annual Uncorked Atlanta Wine Festival at Park Tavern

uncorked atlanta wine park tavern

Back for the sixth rendition, wine connoisseurs are invited to the Uncorked Atlanta Wine Festival at Park Tavern hosted by Atlanta Sport & Social Club on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Overlooking the picturesque Midtown skyline and Piedmont Park, revelers can enjoy over 50 varieties of complimentary wine and craft beer tastings, including an extensive list of cabernets, chardonnays, merlots, Park Tavern’s handcrafted brews, and much more, while jiving to DJ performances and challenging each other to wine-themed trivia, blind taste testing and much more.  Hungry partygoers can also nosh on local favorites including burgers, bowls, tacos, salads, sandwiches, fresh sushi and more. In addition to tastings, music and more, attendees will receive an Uncorked Atlanta tasting glass as a souvenir.  

Tickets are available for ages 21 and up online for $42 and are $54 at the door. To purchase tickets or more information, visit www.uncorkedatlanta.com. Park Tavern 500 Tenth Street NE Atlanta, GA 30309 

For ages 21 and up. Tickets are available at https://www.xorbia.com/e/assc/uncorked-atlanta-wine-festival/.

For more information, visit www.parktavern.com or call 404.249.0001.

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ATLANTA FOUNDATION FOR PUBLIC SPACES CELEBRATES THE 5th ANNUAL CALLANWOLDE ARTS FESTIVAL

Join the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces (AFFPS) on Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21, 2018, as they celebrate the fifth annual Callanwolde Arts Festival. The award-winning, two-day indoor festival is located in one of Atlanta’s most distinctive historic properties, the 27,000-square foot Callanwolde Mansion in Druid Hills, and features approximately 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelers and more.  The festival, which is open to all ages, will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, food trucks with healthy alternatives, and live music and dance performances. Admission is $5 at the door.

Art lovers are also invited to take advantage of the ticketed V.I.P. Preview Sales Party on Friday, January 19th from 6 to 9 p.m.  Upon arrival, guests will be greeted with a glass of wine to sip on as they stroll throughout the historic home and will be the first to view and shop the artwork showcased at this year’s festival.  Guests are also invited to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres while they mix and mingle with the artists and enjoy live acoustic music.  Admission to the V.I.P. Preview Sales Party is $20 and is open to all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door.  For more information visit http://callanwoldeartsfestival.com.   

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Revenge of the 80s: The Best Halloween Party in Town

halloween party

Alright Valley girls and Valley boys, New Wavers and Preppies - you shaped the 1980s, literally - with your big hair and shoulder pads - so on Saturday, October 21, the night is yours for the taking, OPEN BAR included! So c'mon pretty kids in America, you're not like virgins anymore, come out, dance and drink with us - all in support of Jerusalem House, an organization that provides continuum housing and supportive services for homeless and low-income individuals, families, and children affected by HIV/AIDS. 

Revenge of the 80s will put the totally in fabulous, especially with its famous/infamous costume contest - CASH prizes and once again, yours truly is a judge!

For all things Jerusalem House, visit their website AND for Revenge of the 80s party info, tickets & VIP visit HERE!

So like we better, like OMG,  see you at the like, most totally bitchin' Halloween party of the season on like Oct. 21 - after all, girls just wanna have fun so hit us with your best shot!  

Photos by Dan Lax courtesy of Jerusalem House.

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End of Summer Doggie Mingle on the Patio Benefitting Doggies on the Catwalk

doggies mingle

Dog lovers and their four-legged pals are invited to join Hampton + Hudson on Sunday, August 20, 2017, for the monthly Doggie Mingle on the patio benefiting Doggies on the Catwalk, a local nonprofit and annual fashion fundraiser that pairs philanthropic influencers and celebrities with Canine Assistants service dogs in a runway show. 

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests and their furry friends are invited to relax on Hampton + Hudson’s expansive patio, while an on-site caricature artist provides entertainment, and attendees that donate $5 or more to Doggies on the Catwalk have the chance to receive a complimentary drawing.

 

Thirsty pooches looking to cool off from the Atlanta heat can take advantage of a small doggie pool, and of course, Executive Chef Savannah Sasser will be serving her homemade dog treats for hungry pooches as well.

Proceeds from the dog treats, $3 SweetWater IPA draft beers and $5 Tito’s Puppy Love signature cocktail will be donated to the beneficiary.

The event is free to attend. For more information visit www.hamptonandhudson.com.

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