Eugene Ballet, Walla Walla Symphony 'Nutcracker' at Cordiner

Clara holds aloft her Christmas gift, a nutcracker.

Clara holds aloft her Christmas gift, a nutcracker. Courtesy photo

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Eugene Ballet principal dancers perform the grand pas de deux from "Nutcracker" Act II.

The Walla Walla Symphony will present two performances of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet

Maestro Yaacov Bergman will conduct, with the Eugene Ballet Company, Toni Pimble, artistic director; dance students from The Dance Center, Idalee Hutson-Fish, artistic director; and a young people's chorus directed by Christine Janis.

The matinee will be at 2 p.m. and the evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Cordiner Hall, 46 S. Park St.

The ballet was a commission to the Russian-born Tchaikovsky by the Imperial Opera Directorate in 1891.

He was assigned to write a one-act opera in addition to a ballet based on E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," a story which Tchaikovsky hated.

The ballet was completed in late summer, and premiered the following winter. Tchaikovsky's use of the celesta in "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" was the first use of the new instrument in Russia.

Founded in 1978 by Toni Pimble and Riley Grannan, the Eugene Ballet has grown from a community-based dance group to become one the West's busiest and most versatile professional dance companies that performs a wide range of classical and contemporary works, according to a release.

The company has performed in more than 100 cities in 32 U.S. states and internationally to audiences in Canada, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Taiwan.

All seats are reserved, and tickets are available online at wwsymphony.org, by calling 509-529-8020, or at the Symphony office at 131/2 E. Main, Suite 201.

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