“It is very challenging and exhausting, but everyone loves it and it is the holiday spirit that keeps us going.” – Tulsa Ballet dancer Jonnathan Ramirez
Dancers to perform ‘The Nutcracker’ this December
TULSA, Oklahoma — There are numerous things to do leading up to the Christmas season. People go look at Christmas lights, go house-to-house to sing Christmas carols and shop and prepare for Christmas.
What else is there to do? Ever thought about the ballet?
The Tulsa Ballet will be hosting their annual performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ in December.
According to their website, the organization began in 1956 by husband and wife Roman Jasinski and Moscelyne Larkin, and musician Rosalie Talbott.
TB Artistic Director Marcello Angelini has been with the company since 1995, but has been dancing since eight years of age. He sees the importance of ‘The Nutcracker ‘and what it does for the world of ballet.
“’The Nutcracker’ is one of the greatest traditions in ballet,” he said. “It is very complicated and one of the hardest dances in the world.”
‘The Nutcracker’ is a two-act ballet set in Paris on Christmas Eve in the early 1920’s. The family is welcoming guests to a Christmas party when the young daughter, Marie, is given a present, a nutcracker from her godfather, Herr.
Angelini said they estimate that a majority of people watch ballet for the first time with this performance.
“It is important to us to welcome as many people as possible to come see this wonderful classic,” he said.
Angelini said this dance is very challenging for the dancers. They put themselves through strenuous training to learn the choreography.
“It is very challenging as far as the jumps and turns and lifts,” he said. “It pushes them to the edge of their technical abilities.”
Angelini said a performer has to be committed in order to perform to the best of their abilities. It translates into energy.
“And it is the energy the audience sees when they watch ‘The Nutcracker’,” Angelini said.
Jonnathan Ramirez and Madalina Stoica have been with TB for numerous years. They hail from Columbia and Romania respectively and are the leads for performance.
They both have been dancing from a young age. Both had parents who wanted them in ballet and to pursue something from that.
“My mom wanted me to get into dancing and music instead of staying at home,” Ramirez said. “From that, I wanted to keep going and see where ballet takes me.”
Stoica echoed those sentiments.
“I was doing both ballet and gymnastics, but my mother said ballet would be better for me,” she said.
They both love performing for audiences. That is what keeps them going.
“Once I got on stage I told myself that this is what I want to do,” Stoica said. “I want to do this the rest of my life.”
Both Ramirez and Stoica, like Angelini, said the preparation for the dance is strenuous. With this performance, they will be performing for several weekends in December, sometimes twice in a day.
“We start rehearsing a month-and-a-half before the shows and we are here all day,” Ramirez said. “It is very challenging and exhausting, but everyone loves it and it is the holiday spirit that keeps us going.”
Angelini has been all over the world for dance. He has seen all types of dancers and knows that although Tulsa is not one of the ten largest cities in the country, it does have some of the best dancers in the world.
“This company has a massive reputation,” he said.
TB has been regarded as one of the top ballet companies in North America. They consistently bring the finest works in classical and contemporary dance to the midwest region, giving audiences a unique opportunity to view world-class ballet in the Heartland of America.
“For a company to be based in the Heartland of America and be called one of the best companies by the international press, it speaks wonders for our company and dancers,” Angelini said.
Both dancers are looking forward to performing again and cannot wait until they get on stage. They battle through the soreness and get help from some medicine that a lot of American Indians are quite familiar with.
“Ibuprofen,” Ramirez said. “A lot of ice.”
“Stretching always helps,” adds Stoica.
TB, in collaboration with Mvskoke Media are doing a promotion for discounted tickets for all Muscogee (Creek) citizens and employees to any show during the 2017-2018 ballet season.
For more information on tickets contact Cherie Nabozny at: 918-392-5914.