|Kenneth Easter and Justin Souriau-Levine. Photo: Gene Schiavone|
Rachel Moore, ABT CEO
During the mid-1980s, American Ballet Theatre performed The Nutcracker at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles for three weeks each December. On New Year’s Eve, ABT dancers would take “liberties” with the choreography, with the idea that it would be a “Nutty Nutcracker.” One year, when I was a member of the corps de ballet and in the Snow Scene, Larry Pech, a member of the corps playing the role of one the Rats, made a special appearance. Dressed in his rat costume, Larry donned a pair of roller skates and ski poles, and went gliding through the snow scene, dodging us “Snowflakes.” It was a moment to remember!
Kenneth Easter, ABT Corps de Ballet
|Justin Souriau-Levine. Photo courtesy ABT|
Justin Souriau-Levine, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Student
My most memorable experience performing The Nutcracker was as the Little Mouse with ABT. My dresser, Angel, gets me into costume most days and makes sure it stays in perfect condition. One day, during my scene with the Polichinelles, I was sliding across the stage and ripped my costume completely open at the knee. I ran offstage and my chaperone called Angel. He ran down to me as quickly as he could with a needle and thread and saved my costume by sewing it back together before I had to run onto stage again. After that, I called him “Super Angel”!
The first time I ever performed in a production of The Nutcracker was in Kevin McKenzie’s version with ABT. My role was the giant gingerbread cookie, which jumps off the Christmas tree and is eaten by the Mouse King. As I had just come to America from China, it was also my first experience with any type of Christmas celebration. That first Nutcracker experience became one of my most memorable holidays.
American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker is at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from Dec 13—22.