Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

‘Nutcracker’: a holiday tradition

Nine years ago, the Valley Performing Arts Council launched a Thanksgiving weekend tradition: a joint production of “The Nutcracker” with the Sacramento Ballet. It’ll be performed at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, and Sunday, Nov. 30 at the Saroyan Theatre.

One charming aspect of the production is the incorporation of local children in the show alongside the professionals. (The same is the case with the Central California Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 13 and 14.)  For our 7 cover story today, we asked seven of those local children to come in for a photo shoot. We didn’t use the above picture by Bee photographer Mark Crosse of Jillian Rogers, left, as Clara, and Caleigh Alday, as Fritz, in the print edition, but I wanted to be sure to share it with folks. To me, it captures the youth and vitality of “The Nutcracker” no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Win tickets to Lively Arts Foundation’s “The Nutcracker”

Little known fact: In my younger years, I served as a stage hand for a local production of “The Nutcracker.” Essentially, I made sure that the Christmas tree got wheeled on stage at the right time and that the floors were mopped between shows (lest the dancers slip or trip). So, I’ve seen the show a couple of times and can say that there are few things more quintessentially Christmas than this ballet.

The Lively Arts Foundation presents its version of the retelling of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” this Saturday and Sunday at the Saroyan Theatre. We have two tickets to give Saturday night’s performance for one lucky Beehiver. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what you think of as quintessential to the season. Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday.

Please don’t enter more than once. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email Thursday night. So check your email if you entered. Reminder: Because there are physical tickets, you will need to pick them up at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. St.) during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.). Complete rules on the jump.

Read more

Win tickets to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ballet

beauty and the beast

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Sarah Pearce.

ORIGINAL POST: A charming family option awaits this Saturday: the annual story ballet from The State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. This year’s original ballet, “Beauty and the Beast,” tells the classic fairy tale through contemporary dance. I have a family pack of four tickets to give away to a lucky Beehive reader to the 2 p.m. performance at the Saroyan Theatre.

For those of you up to your ears in singing teacups, never fear: This isn’t the Disney version. From my Sunday column:

This “Beauty and the Beast” is an original retelling of the classic fairy tale by Robert Sund, a guest choreographer for the Santa Barbara company. Recorded music by Tchaikovsky will accompany the 22 professional members of the company, along with 20 advanced local area ballet students …

Instead of servants turned into enchanted objects, this production is more nature oriented, with insects and animals personified through contemporary ballet. There’s still the same basic plot of Belle being imprisoned by the prince-turned-beast, but there are many changes, such as a squad of fairies (played by local dancers) working their magic.

Here’s how to enter the contest: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us if you’ve ever seen a non-Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ll pick one comment at random. The winner will receive four tickets. No repeat entries, please. These are paper tickets, so you’ll need to come down to The Bee’s front lobby by 5 p.m. Friday to pick them up. Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Be sure to check your email after the deadline, because that’s how I’ll inform winners. Complete rules are after the jump.

Read more