International cast brings NUTCRACKER! Magic of the Christmas Ballet for American Audiences | news


An award-winning all-star ensemble from Ukraine, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and more brings NUTCRACKER on this 30th anniversary tour! Magic of Christmas Ballet returns to Asheville on December 20 at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at Harrah’s Cherokee

Talmi Entertainment Producer Dan Talmi said the classic Christmas ballet, with its cast of international luminaries, sets the stage for peace, hope and understanding that transcends conflict.

“In a world that sometimes seems to be falling apart, the message from this international artistic troupe is that we can still come together to celebrate fine art across borders.” – Dan Talmi, producer

Artistic director Nobuhiro Terada is a Japanese citizen with deep ties to Ukraine. He is the Artistic Director of the Kyiv National Theater of Opera and Ballet Academy and the official Kyoto Ambassador to Ukraine. With this global perspective across international borders, Terada serves as an honorary judge at international ballet competitions in Kyiv, Osaka and Tokyo and has a unique perspective on the importance of art and its role in promoting peace and understanding between cultures.

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This mission of international understanding is reflected in the core of the production. Unique to NUSSKRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet is the land of peace and harmony in the second act, instead of the traditional land of sweets. Clara and her Nutcracker Prince encounter symbols of each culture in the form of larger-than-life 10-foot dolls; Wisdom from the Persian Elephant, Strength from the Slavic Bear, Courage from the Spanish Bull, Honesty from the French Unicorn and Resilience from the Chinese Firebird. The theme of international peace is brought to life by the company’s world-class principal artists.

The tour features three gold medalists; Hitomi Tekeda, who received her awards at the prestigious International Ballet Competitions of Lausanne, Varna and Bulgaria; Haruo Niyama, winner of the Lausanne International Ballet Competition; and Batur Buklu, who won the gold medal at the Istanbul International Ballet Competition.

Haruo NiyamaHe joins the troupe from Japan as the Nutcracker Prince and is a gold medalist and star of the Paris Opera. Award-winner Hitomi Takeda as Clara has danced on leading stages from Japan to Houston to Switzerland and has been recognized with prestigious awards nationwide, including the Special Technique award in 2000 and 2001, while she finished second in the 2001 National Ballet Academy competition in 2002 she won the Bourse Jeune Espoir in the Prix de Lausanne.

Karyna Shatkovskaya is the main artist from the Ukrainian ballet capital Kharkiv. With a win at the Kazakhstan International Ballet Competition and a UNESCO recognized artist, Karyna comes to this message of peace at a time of great uncertainty for her country and people. Her performances are a cry for humanism at a time that needs to be reminded of the value of life, beauty and human artistic creation.

Batur Buklu, Principal Artist, joins the production as resident artist of Turkey’s national ballet company Istanbul State Opera and Ballet. With stints at the renowned John Cranko School in Germany, Buklu is destined to make an impact on American theater audiences. Istanbul State Conservatory and was selected for the renowned John Cranko Ballet School in Stuttgart. Buklu has graced stages around the world, with a major residency in Hof, Germany.

Olena Pechenyuk: Principal ballerina Olena Pecheniuk celebrated her premiere with the Moscow Ballet on the 25th anniversary tour of North America as the heroine Masha in “The Great Russian Nutcracker” and “Odette/Odile” in “Swan Lake”. Olena is a rising star ballerina, as evidenced by her 2013 Honored Artist of Culture award.

Rustem Imangaliev: Imangaliyev premiered in the United States on the Moscow Ballet’s 2015 80-city tour as Principal Dancer. Imangaliyev is an award-winning dancer, having received an honorable mention at the International Ballet Competition in Korea and an honorable mention at the Asylmuratova International Ballet Competition in Kazakhstan.

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