Temecula Ballet brings ‘Nutcracker’ to Pechanga

Temecula Ballet will present the “Nutcracker Ballet” at Pechanga Resort Casino Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8. Courtesy photo/Shawna Sarnowski Photography

For the second time within the span of a year, Temecula Ballet, which was formerly Inland Valley Classical Ballet Theatre, will perform at Pechanga Resort Casino.

“Temecula Ballet presented the ‘Cinderella’ ballet back in April of this year, which was our first time at Pechanga,” Temecula Ballet’s Artistic Director Svetlana Waisman said.

This time around, Temecula Ballet will perform “The Nutcracker” in two shows this weekend on the Pechanga Theater stage. It will be a slightly different production than audiences saw at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater in late November.

“We’ve made changes not only to the cast but also to the choreography in some scenes to make the show more exciting for the audience,” Waisman said.

Waisman provided a synopsis for her production of “The Nutcracker.”

One snowy evening, everyone was going to the Stahlbaum house to celebrate Christmas. When Herr Drosselmeyer arrives, the children are alarmed yet curious. Drosselmeyer is a magic clockmaker and is said to build magnificent mechanical dolls. He presents his goddaughter, Masha, with a nutcracker that comes to life when midnight strikes. The Nutcracker, released from the Rat Queen’s spell, becomes a real prince and invites Masha on a magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets.

There they are welcomed to the palace by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court. Masha, crowned as the Princess of the Land of Sweets, is thanked for saving the Prince’s life with gifts of Spanish Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, Chinese Tea, Russian Trepak, Tatar Chak-Chak, the Dance of the Mirlitons and Mother Ginger and her Bonbons. Masha and the Nutcracker Prince dance, and the entire court join in a tribute to Masha.

Francesca Lu, who joined Temecula Ballet six years ago, stars as Masha.

“Her talent is obvious as she dances Masha with so much grace and poise, which is one of the most demanding and technically difficult roles in our ballet,” Waisman said. “Francesca is an inspiration to many aspiring young students at Temecula Ballet.”

Waisman’s son, David, will perform the role of the Nutcracker Prince.

“He also studied at Pittsburg Ballet Theater as well as at Voronezh State Ballet Academy Russia,” Waisman said. “David is a very gifted young man whose charm, strength and aplomb onstage will certainly be appreciated by all audiences.”

Another son, Samuel Waisman, will dance the role of Drosselmeyer.

“Samuel is the most perfect Drosselmeyer you can imagine,” Svetlana Waisman said. “I never wanted just a dancer for this role, but a person who can dance and act and not just act, but also make it believable and magical at the same time. Samuel’s rich theater background and his God’s given talent allow him to create an extraordinary Drosselmeyer character, which you need to see for yourself to appreciate.”

Julian Mini will perform the role of the Nutcracker Doll.

Waisman said the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is where she takes her inspiration.

“It turned into a timeless score that inspires many until this day and I am not an exception,” she said. “What I love about it is that it gives me new fresh ideas to create something different and original every year, and I am addicted to this process of making. Staging ‘Nutcracker’ brings a lot of joy to me personally and it makes all people around me so happy, and if my work makes people happy, that makes me happy.”

Waisman said it was difficult for her to choose highlights to talk about.

“It is hard to say,” she said. “The whole production is very engaging and interesting to watch, from party scene to the land of sweets. Our show is traditional, but also different. The audience definitely can expect a lot of amusement from the whole ballet. The second act of the ballet has a lot of culture and authenticity in all the character dances, which is always fun to watch.”

Waisman said she hopes audiences at Pechanga will leave the theater with “joy and beautiful memories.”

“I want the audience to leave counting down the days until the next holiday season so they could watch our ‘Nutcracker’ again,” she said.

Performances begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, inside the Pechanga Theater at Pechanga Resort Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, in Temecula.

Tickets start at $35 and are available at the theater’s box office, by calling (888) 810-8871 or at www.pechanga.com.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.