Travel with Clara through her dreamscape filled with Sugar Plum Fairies, Snow Queens, Mice Kings, heroic Nutcrackers, and much more.
Be transported to the enchanting world of this favorite ballet for children of all ages, and experience the wondrous magic that only a young child’s mind can conjure!
MEET CLARA AND HER CAST OF CHARACTERS on the Musical Arts Center Mezzanine immediately following matinee performances! Enjoy refreshments as you have your photo taken with and get autographs from Nutcracker stars.
The story is set in Vienna in the middle of the nineteenth century. Herr Silberhaus and his wife, along with their children, Clara and Fritz, celebrate the holiday festivities with friends and family. During this Christmas Eve night, the guests and their children rejoice in the magical Christmas atmosphere that Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara’s godfather, brings to the Silberhaus home. He fills the festivities with magical entertainment, dancing dolls, and toys for the children. Herr Drosselmeyer has a special surprise for Clara, a Nutcracker doll. Overjoyed, Clara dances with her new Nutcracker, but her jealous brother, Fritz, damages the Nutcracker. Herr Drosselmeyer fixes it with his magic powers, and after one final dance, the guests leave.
That night, Clara falls into a deep sleep but is woken by giant mice that menace and threaten her. Herr Drosselmeyer protects her and helps her escape. She finds herself back in the living room where, to her amazement, the Christmas tree grows to giant size, and she is in the midst of a huge battle between an army of tin soldiers and the mice. The Nutcracker doll comes to life and duels with the King Mouse. The Nutcracker ultimately rescues Clara from the King Mouse, whom she distracts by throwing her slipper, thus saving herself from his clutches. Herr Drosselmeyer takes Clara on the first part of a magical journey, the first stop of which is the Land of Snow, presided over by the Snow Queen and her Cavalier.
Herr Drosselmeyer then takes Clara to the Land of Sweets, where she is met by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court of angels. Clara recounts her story of battle with the King Mouse. As a reward, the Sugar Plum Fairy performs her famous dance for Clara and invites her to stay and watch while she is entertained by the many Divertissements who inhabit her kingdom.
Michael Vernon is chair emeritus of the Ballet Department and professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. He studied at the Royal Ballet School in London with Dame Ninette de Valois and Leonide Massine. He performed with The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera Ballet, and the London Festival Ballet before moving to New York in 1976 to join the Eglevsky Ballet as ballet master and resident choreographer under the directorship of Edward Villella. Vernon served as artistic director of the company from 1989 to 1996. He has choreographed for the Eglevsky Ballet, BalletMet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Mikhail Baryshnikov commissioned him to choreograph the pas de deux In a Country Garden for American Ballet Theatre. Vernon’s solo S’Wonderful was danced by ABT principal Cynthia Harvey in the presence of President and Mrs. Reagan and shown nationwide on CBS television. He served as the assistant choreographer on Ken Russell’s movie Valentino, starring Rudolph Nureyev and Leslie Caron. Vernon has taught at Steps on Broadway (New York City) since 1980 and been a company teacher for American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has been involved with the Ballet Program of the Chautauqua Institution since 1996 and is the artistic advisor for the Ballet School of Stamford. He is permanent guest teacher at the Manhattan Youth Ballet and has a long association with Ballet Hawaii. For Indiana University, Vernon has choreographed Endless Night, Jeux, Spectre de la Rose, and Cathedral, and has staged and provided additional choreography for the full-length classics Swan Lake and TheSleeping Beauty. He has choreographed for many IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions, such as Faust and the world premiere of Vincent.
Marzio Conti began his career as a flutist, making his debut at the Salzburg Festival at the age of 20. He has been considered internationally as one of his generation’s exponents of the flute, playing, recording, and teaching classes for the most important international institutions. He decided to leave his concert activity in the mid-nineties to devote himself entirely to conducting. A student of Piero Bellugi, Conti soon began being named titular director in several orchestras, in Italy and abroad. Since then, he has directed prestigious orchestras around the world, varying from symphonic to operatic repertoire, and often collaborating with renowned ballet companies. He has recorded for numerous international record labels. Conti has frequently appeared on television and radio, promoting contemporary as well as traditional symphonic and operatic music. He has held principal and artistic director positions in several Italian and foreign orchestras: his last as titular director of Spain’s Oviedo Filarmonia from 2011 to 2017, receiving prizes including Oviedo’s Gold Medal of the Auditorium Prince Felipe, the city’s highest artistic recognition. In recent years, Conti served several times as a juror for the Princess of Asturias Awards. He has conducted, and played and recorded with some of the world’s greatest soloists, singers, stage directors, dancers, and choreographers. Since 2014, he has served as a guest conductor with the Jacobs School of Music and has been a guest conductor with the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival in Graz since 2017.
David Higgins, born in Bloomington, Indiana, and raised not two blocks from campus, C. David Higgins started his theatrical studies at IU intent on becoming an actor/dancer before he discovered his love for scenic design. He studied with the famous C. Mario Cristini and became proficient in the Romantic-Realist style of scenic design and painting. After earning his master’s degree, he joined the staff of Indiana University Opera Theater and worked there as master scenic artist from the time the Musical Arts Center opened in 1971 until his retirement in December 2011. He was appointed to the faculty in 1976 and served as chair of the Opera Studies Department and principal designer for Opera Theater. His design credits throughout the United States include the San Antonio Festival, Memphis Opera, Norfolk Opera, Louisville Opera, Detroit Symphony, Canton Ballet, and Sarasota Ballet as well as many other venues. His Indiana University productions have been seen throughout North America as rentals by major regional opera companies. His many international credits include the Icelandic National Theater; Ballet San Juan de Puerto Rico; Korean National Opera; Seoul City Opera; Korean National Ballet; Dorset Opera (England); Teatro la Paz de Belém, Brazil; and the Teatro National de São Paulo, Brazil. He has designed the scenery for the world premiere of Our Town (Ned Rorem), the American premieres of Jeppe (Sandström) and The Devils of Loudun (Penderecki), and the collegiate premieres of Nixon in China (Adams) and The Ghosts of Versailles (Corigliano) as well as many other operas and ballets. Known for his Italianate painting style, Opera News magazine has referred to Higgins as one of the finest American scenic artists today.
Ken Phillips has been the lighting designer and supervisor for the IU Jacobs School of Music's Musical Arts Center since 2019. He earned an M.F.A. in Lighting Design from the University of Arizona and previously worked around the country as a freelance designer for musical theatre and opera. Samples of his work may be seen at KGPhillips.com.
Christian Claessens is lecturer in ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. He began his ballet training at the Conservatoire de la Monaie. In 1978, he came to New York on scholarship to the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School. After graduating, he performed with the Kansas City Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 1984, he returned to Europe as a member of the Dutch National Ballet. As a soloist, Claessens toured internationally with Stars of the American Ballet, Stars of the New York City Ballet, Stars of the Hong Kong Ballet, and Kozlov and Friends. In 1991, he cofounded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with Diana White. In 1999, he codirected the International Ballet Project with Valentina Kozlova and White, both of New York City Ballet. In 1998, he took over the directorship of the Purchase Youth Ballet. He was the director of La Leçon: Christian Claessens School of Ballet in Westchester, New York.
Sasha Janes is an associate professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. He has danced professionally with West Australian Ballet, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and Dayton Ballet, performing principal roles in works by Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Marius Petipa, Septime Webre, Anthony Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and many others. He has served as both associate artistic director and resident choreographer of Charlotte Ballet. His choreographed works include Carmen, Dangerous Liaisons, We Danced Through Life, Last Lost Chance, Shelter, At First Sight, Loss, The Four Seasons, The Red Dress, Utopia, Playground Teasers, The Seed and the Soil, Chaconne, Queen, Sketches from Grace, and Rhapsodic Dances, which was performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series in June 2013. The Washington Post called Janes “a choreographer to watch.” He was a participant in New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and has been a guest choreographer for Richmond Ballet’s New Works Festival.
Carla Körbes is associate professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Körbes was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and began training at the age of five. In 1996, Peter Boal encouraged her to come to the United States to study at the School of American Ballet. She joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 1999 and was made a member of the corps de ballet in 2000. She was promoted to soloist in 2005 and joined Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) as a soloist later that year. She was promoted to principal dancer at PNB in 2006 and retired from the company in 2015. Körbes danced numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, and Twyla Tharp, and performed classical works including Swan Lake, Giselle, and Don Quixote. Before joining the Jacobs School of Music faculty, she served as associate director of the L. A. Dance Project and taught at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. (Photo by Patrick Fraser)
Kyra Nichols is professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where she holds the Violette Verdy and Kathy Ziliak Anderson Chair in Ballet. Nichols began her early training with her mother, Sally Streets, a former member of New York City Ballet (NYCB). Nichols became an apprentice and then a member of the corps de ballet at NYCB in 1974 and was promoted to soloist in 1978. In 1979, George Balanchine promoted her to principal dancer, and she worked closely with both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She performed numerous leading roles in the NYCB repertoire, including Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto Number 2, Stars and Stripes, Liebeslieder Walzer, and Davidsbündlertänze. She has worked with an extensive list of choreographers, including William Forsythe, Susan Stroman, Christopher Wheeldon, Jacques D’Amboise, Robert La Fosse, and Robert Garland. Nichols retired from New York City Ballet in June 2007, after 33 years with the company, as the longest-serving principal dancer in the company’s history. Immediately prior to joining the Jacobs School, she was ballet mistress at Pennsylvania Ballet.
Sophia Fatouros is the Pre-College Ballet Program director and on faculty in the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department. She previously was dance director at the Harlem School of the Arts and program coordinator for the partnership of the Professional Performing Arts School and The Ailey School, a high school public magnet program. Fatouros is originally from Bloomington, Indiana, and has performed professionally in Europe and Canada as well as in the United States, with Dayton Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, and Ballet Hispanico. She has more than 25 years of experience teaching ballet to children and avocational adults in the New York City area, including Steps on Broadway, the 92nd Street Y, and 12 years at The Ailey School. She earned a B.A. in English with honors from Hunter College, City University of New York, and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University SPEA. (Photo by Maximillian Tortoriello)
Rebecca Janes is an adjunct faculty member at the IU Jacobs School of Music. After a professional career spanning 20 years, dancing principal roles by George Balanchine, Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Nacho Duato, Marius Petipa, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Anthony Tudor, and Sasha Janes, she moved to Bloomington with her family. Before coming to Bloomington, she was part of the senior ballet faculty at Charlotte Ballet Academy. She has been teaching for nine years and is also on faculty at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.
Irina Ter-Grigoryan earned her degrees of piano performance, pedagogy, and accompaniment in the former Soviet Union. She served as a faculty member at the Baku State Conservatory and as an accompanist for the Azerbaijan State Theater Opera and Ballet. She was selected from a small pool of musicians to accompany international and regional competitions representing the Soviet Union. During her time in the United States, she has continued her work as an accompanist with the Temple Square Concert Series Recitals in Salt Lake City, Utah; University of Utah; and Ballet West Co.; and as a collaborative pianist at DePauw University. She currently holds the position of accompanist and music director with the IU Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department.