Behind the Lens with Leigh-Ann Esty: The Nutcracker

Post by Leigh-Ann Esty, Corps de Ballet

As a professional ballet dancer, my life is very busy. I am always learning new techniques, rehearsing five different ballets at a time, and traveling to different places every weekend. However, there is one thing about my crazy life that always stays the same…The Nutcracker. It comes once a year, EVERY year! When we begin to perform The Nutcracker, it means that the holiday season has begun. It is one of my favorite times of year! I began to photograph this ballet about three years ago. The colors are so vibrant in this production, which helps the photographs to be quite visually pleasing. There are five different parts of The Nutcracker that are my favorite to watch and photograph as well.

My first favorite part in The Nutcracker is the snow scene. This is such a magical moment in the ballet. Little pieces of white paper fall onto the stage, portraying the illusion of a blustery snow-covered forest. As the dancers jump around, “snow” is kicked into the air. Then, all of a sudden, the whole group of dancers run to the corner and stop abruptly, folding in half. Just when you think they are done, they start up again, shaking their pom poms that look like snow balls. I love the dramatics of this part! The music and choreography fit perfectly together.

In the second half of The Nutcracker, there are a number of divertissements. These act as entertainment in the Land of the Sweets. One of my favorites is the Candy Cane dance. The male lead in this has a very impressive part. He performs all of these tricks while jumping through a hoolahoop! It is quite exciting! I also love this music. It really gets me into the holiday spirit!

My all time favorite dance in The Nutcracker is the dance of the Dew Drop in Waltz of the Flowers. Her choreography is so musical and fluid. She gets to fly and spin across the stage. I get chills every time I watch this part, especially at the end when the music builds and explodes into a burst of energy. This is a dream role of mine!

Nutcracker would not be the same if it weren’t for the children. In this production, there are over 60 kids that get to participate. I love seeing their joy and excitement. It makes me remember when I was just starting out as a ballet dancer. My first role in The Nutcracker was a pollychenell. I will never forget feeling tears of joy every time I ran out from Mother Commedia’s skirt to bow. Now when I see the kids smile and beam on stage, I know exactly how they are feeling!

Click here to see Leigh’s Behind-the-Scenes of Nutcracker album on Facebook.

Click here to check out Leigh’s website.

Photos: Miami City Ballet dancers in George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM.  Choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust. Photo © Leigh-Ann Esty.

Our Nutcracker Memories – Part 1

Everyone has a special Nutcracker memory they will always cherish, whether it be a childhood experience or watching The Nutcracker for the first time as an adult. ‘Tis the season to reminisce about those special Nutcracker times. Corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King gathered some of the dancers to talk about their Nutcracker memories in this heartwarming video (which she produced =) ). Check back next week for Part 2!

Want to take part in the action? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite Nutcracker memory!

All About Snow – Part 2

Patricia Delgado’s snow series comes to an end as she uncovers the trick to getting those beautiful snow crowns on and talks to the dancers about their most memorable snow performances. Plus, she gives you a peek at the backstage action during the ever-so-special snow scene!

All About Snow

Although snow is unusual in our part of the country, MCB has the ability to make magical things happen! That’s why every Nutcracker season, it snows on the stage of four special theaters in South Florida.

Patricia Delgado, principal dancer and snow alumni, breaks through the blizzard to uncover all the secrets of George Balanchine’s snow scene in The Nutcracker. You don’t want to miss the first of this two-part snow series!

Party Children, Angels and Soldiers, Oh My!

One of the best parts of MCB’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is that the children in the cast are students at Miami City Ballet School! Every year these talented young dancers take on the roles of the Party Children, Soldiers, Angels, Candy Canes, Tea, and of course the Little Prince and Little Princess (Marie). They all work extremely hard during their rehearsal period and at the end of it all get to perform onstage with the company during this loved family tradition.

We talked to a few of the cast members to find out their thoughts about The Nutcracker.

MCB will perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at Adrienne Arsht Center from December 17-19 and 21-23.

Behind The Nutcracker with Leigh-Ann Esty

We are two weeks into our Nutcracker run, which started off in Naples on November 26. Leigh-Ann Esty took the Flip camera with her across Alligator Alley and gave us a glimpse into the backstage happening at the Naples Philharmonic Center.

MCB will perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ this weekend at Broward Center and December 17-19 & 21-23 at Adrienne Arsht Center.

‘Tis the Season!

Holiday lights and mistletoe are being hung. Christmas trees are going up and tonight the first candle on the menorah will be lit. This is the time of year when over-eating and over-spending is OK! But the best part of the holiday season is that the Nutman returns to MCB and the company performs George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ ! You may remember how hard the Nutman works from his training video we posted last November, and this season is no different! He made his first appearance in our Miami Beach building last week and everyone was very excited to see him.

Stay tuned to see what the Nutman has up his sleeve this season!

Don’t miss him onstage with Miami City Ballet this weekend at Kravis Center, December 10-12 at Broward Center, and December 17-19 & 21-23 at Adrienne Arsht Center.

The conclusion of Patricia’s Nutcracker video journal

The third and final installment of Patricia’s Naples Nutcracker video journal is here! Watch as she continues to reveal Nutcracker secrets — like what it looks like under Mother Commedia’s skirt and how the Sugar Plum Fairy glides across the stage!

There are still two more performance of The Nutcracker at Adrienne Arsht Center!

Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Miami City Ballet Trivia Corner – Nutcracker Edition

Ezra Hurwitz and Michael Breeden are at it again! This time they bring you a special Nutcracker edition of Miami City Ballet Trivia Corner.

See Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ this weekend at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Friday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 20 at 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Patricia interviews her sister the Dewdrop

In the third and final installment of Patricia’s interviews, she sits down with her sister and fellow principal dancer Jeanette Delgado. Listen in as Jeanette reminisces about growing up dancing in The Nutcracker at MCB and chats about her favorite parts of the Dewdrop role.

See Patricia and Jeanette perform in The Nutcracker this weekend.

December 18-20, 22-23
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts