‘Nutcracker’ dancer signs contract with Royal Ballet

Published 5:50 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

By Maggie Blackwell

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — If you didn’t already have a reason to attend this year’s production of “The Nutcracker Suite,” how about seeing international ballet stars?

Yury Yanowsky, a principal dancer and choreographer with the Boston Ballet and faculty member at Harvard University, will perform the role of the Cavalier. Rachele Buriassi, a native of Italy, a soloist with the Boston Ballet and former soloist at Stuttgart Ballet, will perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Royal Ballet in London has just announced that Yanowsky will join the company for a production after his performances in Salisbury. He will join his sister, Zenaida Yanowsky, a principal with the company.

Piedmont Dance Theatre artistic directors Daniel and Rebecca Wiley wanted to recognize the 15th anniversary of “Nutcracker” in a special way this year, so they searched for dancers of international fame.

The production features 100 local dancers, hand-painted sets, a Christmas tree that grows onstage, a giant lady with dancers inside her skirt, smoke, snow and more.

“Daniel and I strive to place humor, warmth and the human connection at the forefront of our production,” said Rebecca Wiley. “There is a magic very seldom seen and felt elsewhere in our culture, but by allowing ourselves to be immersed in this tale, we can forget our stressors and simply feel dazzled, delighted like we haven’t in a long while.  This is why ‘The Nutcracker’ has become such a beloved holiday tradition.”

The dancers have rehearsed since September.

“Nutcracker” performances will span two weekends. Today and Sunday, performances are at Kannapolis Performing Arts Center adjacent to A.L. Brown High School. On Dec. 16 and 17, the ballet will be at Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College.

After the last show in Kannapolis, staff and volunteers will inventory all costumes, wigs, sets, props and merchandise and pack them in moving vans for the 18-mile trip to Catawba. There, they will install the sets, including the snow machines, magic growing tree and other wonders.

The Catawba performances will feature full orchestration of 49 players of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. While some musicians will play in the orchestra pit, many will be on the proscenium for full viewing, including two harpists.

“We are proud of our partnership with the Piedmont Dance Theatre and appreciate the high caliber of dance they bring to Salisbury, “ said James Dane Harvey, executive director of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. “Rebecca and Daniel Wiley are an asset to the arts in our region. The performances they bring out of their students and the internationally renown dancers they’ve arranged to perform this year is comparable only to world cities like New York or London or Paris.”

Tickets are available at salisburysymphony.org. Kannapolis dates and times are 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday. Salisbury dates and times are 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17.

Ticket prices vary by location and seating.