Archives for posts with tag: art

Photo by Bryan ReganBy Mary Brooks; Photo by Bryan Regan (@bryanregan on Instagram)

The World’s Largest Dinosaurs

Make your next vacation epic. Through the beginning of 2015, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences continues to go big with The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, a new exhibition about the super-sized sauropods, the most colossal animals to walk the earth. You must go big too. Start the new year off in a grand way with a trip to the exhibition, other Greater Raleigh museums and historic attractions, big-flavor dining and a cozy hotel stay.

When you’re here, explore the area’s selection of 80-plus historic attractions and see the past come alive through in-depth exhibits, costumed docents or hands-on workshops. Film buffs won’t be able to get enough of the North Carolina Museum of History’s Starring North Carolina! exhibition, featuring costumes and props from Iron Man 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Blue Velvet and more. Can’t miss: Kick-off Black History Month early by celebrating the heritage and culture of the 14th Annual African American Cultural Celebration (1/31) at the North Carolina Museum of History. This special festival boasts many outstanding presenters who include musicians, storytellers, writers, dancers, chefs and craftspeople from across our state :: All Lifelong Learner events

Basketball Season Hype and Headlights and Tailpipes

2015 brings the hype of basketball season as Greater Raleigh’s minor-league basketball team Cary Invasion takes to the court against the All-American Ballers (1/3), Neuse River BBall Club (1/10) and Stealth All Stars (1/17). Four collegiate men’s teams also host big games this month. The William Peace University Pacers play Connecticut College (1/1) and Methodist (1/21); Raleigh rivals Saint Augustine’s University Falcons and Shaw University Bears play (1/24); and the North Carolina State University Wolfpack plays Duke University (1/11) and UNC-Chapel Hill (1/14). Can’t miss: Hear the roars of engines and go through the gears at Ray Price Harley-Davidson’s New Rider Boot Camp (1/3). Learn about everything from headlights to tailpipes, how to tell a Sportster from a softail motorcycle and which bike is perfect for you :: All Adrenaline Junkie events

The Art of Entertainment

Discover the vibrant colors of classical Chinese dance, feel the joy as ethnic and folk dance fill the stage with energy and take an extraordinary journey to the lost land of the ancient Middle Kingdom at Shen Yun 2015 (1/27-28) at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Let the stunning animated backdrops captivate you and exquisite costumes transport you to another world while experiencing the new sound of an orchestra that combines East and West like no other. Can’t miss: The Garner Performing Arts Center presents Capathia Jenkins: Broadway Voices (1/31). Jenkins will perform numbers from Broadway productions that she’s been featured in such as Newsies and The Civil War and the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell :: All Creative Genius events

Culinary Excellence

Take part in the week-long celebration of culinary excellence that is 2015 Triangle Restaurant Week (1/26-2/1). Participating restaurants from across Greater Raleigh will partake by offering special three-course menu options of some of their best dishes with fixed pricing. It’s the perfect opportunity to taste a sampling of Raleigh area cuisines. Can’t miss: Beer Sunday (1/25) at Crank Arm Brewing in downtown Raleigh kicks off 2015 Triangle Restaurant Week with live music, flights, samples and more :: All Foodie events

All That Jazz

Escape the brisk winter air and relax inside with some jazz this Jan. Listen as the North Carolina Symphony pays tribute to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald with Louis and Ella, All That Jazz (1/16-17) at the Meymandi Concert Hall at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Enjoy the Jim Ferris Trio (1/10) at Irregardless Café and nightly jazz favorites at C. Grace (Tues.-Sat.). If it’s the blues that calls your name, check out Jason Damico and the New Blue at Rock Harbor Grill (1/10) in Apex. Can’t miss: Country performances at City Limits Saloon featuring Big Smo (1/2), Easton Corbin (1/3) and the Big Cahoot featuring Yarn (1/17). Also, see Southern rock classic group, The Marshall Tucker Band (1/21), at The Ritz :: All Music Maniac events

A Winter Season Centerpiece

Cap off your Greater Raleigh experience by grabbing your mittens, lacing up a pair of skates and visiting Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest (through 2/1). A centerpiece during the winter season, this premier event features a signature outdoor skating rink.

Click through to see all Greater Raleigh events in January 2015.

Holiday lights in Greater Raleigh NCBy Kristy Stevenson

During the holiday season, the Raleigh area is aglow with displays of Christmas lights, blow-ups and other seasonal presentations. Here are some of the best places for December pageantry:

Happyland Christmas Lights
5505 Huntingwood Dr., Raleigh. These lights twinkle in memory of Rick Moore (1986-2004), who in his short life always wanted “more lights.” Drive by Mon.-Thurs., 6:30-10pm; Fri.-Sun., 6-10:30pm. On Christmas Eve the lights will run sundown-10:30pm with the manger lit throughout the night. Free.

Piper Lights
5725 Fixit Shop Rd., Wake Forest. Drive through a display that connects yards and crosses a pond (creating beautiful reflections). Ride the train and visit the candy store for hot chocolate, popcorn and old-fashioned candy treats. You might even see Santa! Sun.-Thurs., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10:30pm. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Wendell Wonderland’s Lake Myra Christmas Lights
10 S. Cyress St., Wendell. The Town of Wendell has a spectacular light show set to music. This year’s display features 400,000 lights computer synchronized to “dance” in time to the music. The display is created by the Williams family of Wendell, who painstaking design and assemble the glowing event each year. Visitors neither walk nor ride through the exhibit–it’s more like going to the movies. You’ll park (or stand) and watch the show from the viewing area in front of the display. Each show is 30-90 minutes in length. Sun.-Thurs., 6-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-11pm. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Magical Winter Lights Show
Park West Village; Intersections of Chapel Hill Rd., Cary Pkwy., and Morrisville Pkwy., Morrisville. PaintScaping brings the walls of the Park West 14 Cinemas to life with 3D projection mapping and animation set to holiday music. Nightly, 6-8pm. Story time with Santa is 5:30-8:30pm, Fri.-Sun.. Plus, falling snow, train rides every night and carolers on the weekend. Free.

Some neighborhoods are known for their cumulative effort and fantastic holiday spirit–Raleigh subdivisions like Bedford, Black Horse Run and Stonehenge; the historic district of Wake Forest; and Planter’s Walk in Knightdale, for example. Check out this map of many the hot spots in the area created by Wake Forest Commissioner Jim Thompson and shared via social media.

Holiday Lights in Greater Raleigh NCWhat are some of your area favorites?

Follow Kristy on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit her website here: Kristy Stevenson Creative.

things to do in Raleigh with kids, Color Me Mine Cary paint ceramics. By Leigh Hines

There’s a new spot in Cary’s Waverly Place that will allow you to put your own dazzle on your holiday gifts this year. Color Me Mine in Cary is a walk-in, paint-it-yourself ceramics studio for painters of all ages.

My children and I stopped in one afternoon and they both wanted to paint.

The setup is easy. You choose from an assortment of ceramics in categories marked on the wall. My daughter chose a rainbow bank from the kid’s section, whereas my son chose a reindeer plate from the seasonal section.

Kids and adults can paint ceramics at Color Me Mine in CaryYou choose about six colors, depending on what you are painting, and then you can get as creative as you want with your design.

From rainbows to ornaments, Color Me Mine offers a lot to paintFor younger children, you may want to start with smaller items because each piece really needs about three coats of paint.

Once you have finished your ceramic, you turn it in, and Color Me Mine will glaze it, fire it and call you when it’s ready. This process usually takes less than a week.

Color Me Mine is fun for kids in Greater Raleigh, Art and Painting You pick it up and you have a gift for yourself that shows your creativity or a gift for a loved one with a lot of handmade love in it.

Kids can be creative at Color Me Mine Color Me Mine has a monthly calendar filled with many activities, including Music Night, Kid’s Night Out, Ladies Night and couple date nights. If you are an inexperienced artist, Color Me Mine has stencils and rubber stamps and a design computer with thousands of designs that you can transfer on to your pieces and paint by numbers! Staff will always be there to help you.

Fun for all ages at Color Me Mine in Waverly PlaceThere is a painting fee, plus the cost of the ceramic. Special nights usually give a discount on the painting fee, which is usually $6 for kids and $10 for 13 and older.

My kids loved it so much that they are ready to do it again, and I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind painting something as well.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

The Nutcracker in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines; Photography by Chris Walt

There’s no doubt that Carolina Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker is a Raleigh holiday classic. The stunning ballet, which we highlighted earlier this month, will be performed at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, Dec. 19-28, for its 13th year. Click for tickets.

With the curtain about to open in Raleigh, we compiled 10 amazing facts about the production:

1. The Nutcracker was the first ballet Carolina Ballet creative director Robert Weiss ever saw (when he was five years old), which led him to pursue a career in ballet. He performed every male role in New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker (except the role of Drosselmeyer) as a student and then as dancer in the company

2. It took more than 12 yards of net or tulle to make a single tutu skirt for the production–the net is specially manufactured for tutus and comes from England.

3. There are 333 stage lights in this production.

4. The Nutcracker, the Rat King, 10 mouse heads and Calico Cat’s head were built by Robert Alsop in England who also built many of the Star Wars costumes.

5. The Mother Ginger costume weighs about 100 pounds and takes a pulley to get dancer Davy Nethercutt into it.

6. There are 126 individual roles in the show.

7. There are more than 100 yards of various fabrics and more than 200 yards of horsehair braid in the petticoats for the Lead Mother and Party Guests roles.

8. The fastest costume change in the show is for Clara, who has just 30 seconds to change out of her party dress and into her nightgown before the battle scene.

9. There are 51 buttons on each soldier costume (hand sewn on the costumes). There are 20 soldiers in the show, so there are 1,020 buttons on these costumes total.

10. There are 126 dancers in each performance, which means 252 ballet shoes are used each performance.

The Nutcracker in Raleigh NCFollow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella in Raleigh NCBy Ryan Smith; Photos by David Watts

For the past 31 years Raleigh Little Theatre has presented Cinderella to the delight of audiences of all ages. My daughter turned eight this year, and although she’s mostly aged out of her obsession with princesses, I thought dinner in Cameron Village and seeing Cinderella would be a great holiday tradition to start for the two of us.

I admit I expected this adaptation of the beloved fairy tale to be pretty straightforward. I had, after all, seen the Disney version a hundred times! I expected a princess who meets a prince, they fall in love, she runs away at midnight losing her glass slipper, he finds her and they live happily ever after–but I was pleasantly surprised when Raleigh Little Theatre injected humor, pop culture references, over-the-top characters, audience interaction and great music to the classic tale.

To start we find out that Cinderella’s real name is Ella, but because her evil stepmother and conniving stepsisters banish her to spending most of her time in the kitchen with the cinders and ashes, they call her Cinderella. The play starts in the days leading up to Christmas, culminates with the royal ball on Christmas Eve and ends with the entire cast singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” as snow falls on the stage. The audience delights as elements of the show change yearly to include pop culture references like this year’s mention of Princesses Anna and Elsa who just need to “Let it Go” and little girls squeal with delight as the Prince comes into the audience looking for his true love and trying the glass slipper on their feet.

Cinderella in Raleigh NC
The story of Cinderella is timeless, but it is the cast of characters who give Raleigh Little Theatre’s show the wow factor. From the stepmother who has the highest hairdo of anything I’ve ever seen to her two daughters, who are played by men, to the groovy King Darling the Third and the all-important Fairy Godmother, or “FG,” as she’s called throughout the play, kids of all ages will be smiling ear-to-ear the entire 90-minute performance.

As an added bonus, the cast is in the lobby to take photos and sign programs for little princes and princesses.

The performance runs through this Sat., Dec. 20, so you still have a chance to experience it for yourself! Get tickets here.

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest Tree. ©Luster Studios.Every weekend Raleigh has an event lineup that keeps you wanting more. They never disappoint. Here are a few events you shouldn’t miss this weekend.

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest Celebration

Downtown Raleigh’s winter celebration brings you the grand Official Mayor’s Tree Lighting along with outdoor skating. Even more festivities will line Fayetteville St., including live music, carnival rides, a sledding hill, a beer and wine tent and the brand-new Taste of Downtown feature and Gingerbread House Competition. Learn more.

Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of Cinderella

Cozy up inside during this musical comedy production of Cinderella. Just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. A visually-stunning musical combining elegant costumes and scenery with song, dance, conniving step-relatives and resourceful fairy-folk. Learn more.

Scandinavian Christmas Fair

Area holiday celebrations are not limited to those of secular pop culture but include celebrations paying homage to cultures from across the globe. Take part in the rich traditions of the Nordic countries during the Scandinavian Christmas Fair at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and indulge in homemade Scandinavian foods, Nordic folk dancing, a traditional Lucia Procession and more. Learn more.

Winter Wonderland

Most absolutely can’t go without binge-watching holiday movies in Dec. Get social when you watch holiday flicks this Sat. at North Hills for its free Winter Wonderland event. Showing both Doctor Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf while kids activities, shopping and more transpire. Learn more.

First Friday

We couldn’t go without mentioning First Night, a monthly downtown Raleigh favorite. Visitors can experience downtown’s cutting-edge cultural hot spots tonight as local art galleries, art studios, alternative art venues and museums as they stay open late, until 9pm. Learn more.

Click through to see more events happening this weekend. Trust usthere’s a lot going on!

By Derek Allman

It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play, Cary, N.C.The Greater Raleigh town of Cary is set to deliver packages of holiday goodness this season. Immerse yourself in holiday magic at these charming Cary events:

1. It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play

Dec. 4-8 at the Cary Arts Center. Cary Players bring the beloved American holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, to the stage as a live radio broadcast. You’ll be transported back in time at this live theatre production staged as if it includes 1940s radio stars broadcasting from a studio. Add live sound effects created on-stage by a collection of hand-crafted wind machines, miniature doors and other old-fashioned “Foley-props” and more, mix in live music and animated voices, and you’ve got a rich and wonderful production. Based on Frank Capra’s holiday classic film and recreated for the stage by Philip Grecian. Click for show times and tickets.

2. Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 6 at Cary Town Hall. For outdoor family fun, take your blanket to the always-festive, official Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The night features actors, singers and musicians, plus the unveiling of the tree with hand-crafted ornaments from more than 120 community groups. The Community Christmas Tree is a true representation of the diversity of Cary.

3. The Night Before Christmas Carol

Dec. 12 at The Cary Theater. If live theater is your style, check out The Night Before Christmas Carol from renowned Dickens scholar and author Dr. Elliot Engel and watch history, humor and the holiday come to life. Go back in time and join Charles Dickens in his study on Fri., Oct. 13, 1843. In this acclaimed performance, actor David zum Brunnen portrays Charles Dickens and 17 familiar characters; giving personal, social, and historical context to the ghostly classic, A Christmas Carol.

4. Seasonal Movies at The Cary Theater

Occurring throughout Dec. On the holiday calendar are a handful of traditional seasonal movies at The Cary Theater. From the Natalie Wood classic Miracle on 34th Street to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Muppets Christmas Carol (Kids Movie Morning), Bill Murray’s Scrooged, Will Ferrell’s Elf and the children’s classic The Polar Express, directed by Robert Zemeckis, The Cary Theatre offers a heap of holiday movie big-screen showings.

And of course there are many more reasons to visit Cary in Dec. Click through to see a full list of events.

By Kristy Stevenson. Follow her here.

A Christmas Carol in Raleigh, N.C.Artful Holiday Traditions

Jingle all the way to Greater Raleigh to create new and artful holiday traditions for your family. Take delight in two time-honored performances at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (12/19-28) and Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol (12/10-14).

You’ll be captivated and fascinated by the awe-inspiring grace, grandeur and mysterious illusions of Carolina Ballet’s production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. This season will be spectacular as Robert Weiss again combines the beauty of ballet with a little Las Vegas magic. You can also catch one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast,” A Christmas Carol in Raleigh. Celebrate the musical comedy’s 40th anniversary as this classic performance is sure to warm hearts of all ages. Both productions are bona fide Raleigh holiday traditions and are inspiring ways for adults and children to share in the holiday spirit.

Cap off your holiday experience by grabbing your mittens, lacing up a pair of skates and visiting Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest (through 2/1). A centerpiece during the winter season, this premier holiday event features a signature outdoor skating rink and other fun-filled festivities. Can’t miss: Other holiday favorites across Greater Raleigh like It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play (12/4-8) and “Tis the Season” (12/12) at the Cary Arts Center, Franc D’Ambrosio – Christmas in New York (12/7) at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre and “Handel’s Messiah – Christmas Section” (12/20) at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex :: All Creative Genius events in December

For the Adrenaline Junkie

The fall season in Greater Raleigh means nonstop soccer on a national scale, highlighted by the return of the NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup (12/12-14). Forty-eight collegiate teams from across the nation will fight for a spot in the final game at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Greater Raleigh also hosts the largest annual youth sporting event in the area’s history, featuring the Boys Showcase during the CASL National Soccer Series (12/12-14). Can’t miss: Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament (12/26-30) at Broughton High School in Raleigh, featuring many of the top-ranked high school players from across the nation :: All Adrenaline Junkie events in December

Seasonal Treats

The holidays offer many special experiences across the Raleigh area. Children will love Brunch with Santa (12/17) at the Garner Performing Arts Center or sipping on a cup of hot apple cider at Historic Oak View County Park for their Sleigh Rides and Cider (12/6) event. Parents can enjoy a night out at the 12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit (12/7) at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, showcasing more than 25 elaborate gingerbread houses donated and created by local celebrity chefs. Can’t miss: North Carolina Symphony’s Sound Bites at the Pub (12/1) at Humble Pie. Sit back and enjoy the performance as you dine on a delicious multi-course meal :: All Foodie events in December

Holidays Around the World

Area holiday celebrations are not limited to those of secular pop culture but include celebrations paying homage to cultures from across the globe. Take part in the rich traditions of the Nordic countries during the Scandinavian Christmas Fair (12/6) at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and indulge in homemade Scandinavian foods, Nordic folk dancing, a traditional Lucia Procession and more. Listen to the pipes and drums, watch traditional Irish dance and shop from local Celtic vendors at the 8th Annual Celtic Christmas (12/14) at Tir na nOg; or, be part of the candle-lighting and other festivities for all ages in the 20th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration (12/20) at the Cary Arts Center. Can’t miss: Take a special holiday tour of the North Carolina Executive Mansion during the Governor’s Mansion Holiday Open House (12/11-14). Browse the decorations, which include N.C.-grown Christmas trees, whimsical gingerbread houses, ornate mantle displays and mixed evergreen arrangements :: All Lifelong Learner events in December

Let’s Jam!

Warm up with a cup of joe and a performance at a coffee shop. Stop in Lorraine’s Coffee House in Garner for evening shows by Connie McCoy Rogers and Mo’ Jazz (12/6), Diamond Creel (12/11) and Foscoe Philharmonic (12/20). You can also relax with live music at Sola Coffee & Cafe while listening to Cory Bishop and Friends (12/5), Rachel Joy Pletts (12/6), Lounge Doctors (12/12) and Erin Mason (12/19). Can’t miss: The national and world tours stopping in Raleigh at PNC Arena, including The Black Keys (12/5) and The Avett Brothers (12/31) :: All Music Maniac events in December

Even more December can’t misses

The Raleigh Acorn will be lowered at First Night Raleigh 2015 to ring in the New Year. While the acorn has become synonymous with First Night Raleigh, the festival is much more than the countdown to midnight. Your admission grants access to every performance and every venue throughout the day. That’s nearly 100 performances in more than three dozen locations across downtown Raleigh. What a bargain for just $10! This year’s theme is “Out of This World Fun.” Learn more

Holidays in Raleigh wouldn’t be the same without the Capitol Tree Lighting at the North Carolina State Capitol. The Capitol is beautiful by itself… but holiday trees make things just a little more beautiful. Seasonal music and hands-on fun highlight this evening presented by the North Carolina Museum of History.

45th Annual Fine Designer Crafts ShowUp for a little (creative) holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend? Be that unpredictable gift-giver this holiday season and give truly one-of-a-kind gifts. Find unique items at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds over the Thanksgiving weekend!

Maggie Joynt Ocean Jasper BraceletMaggie Joynt’s ocean jasper bracelet

The 45th Annual Fine Designer Crafts Show, held in the Exposition Center, is a three-day show and sale of crafts including more than 115 contemporary fine craft artists from across North Carolina and the U.S. Presented by the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild (CDCG), this family-friendly event is a trusted resource for collectors and the community at large.

Fiber art by Jen SwearingtonFiber art by Jen Swearington

A rigorous two-step jury selection process draws emerging and career craft artists who are presenting craft at the highest level and reflecting a mastery of technique and originality of design. Show artists present a striking variety of fine crafts in glass, ceramics, wood, both wearable and decorative fibers, metal, leather, printmaking, photography and mixed media, as well as one-of-a-kind handmade furniture and both precious and semi-precious jewelry. A full list of 2014 artists and images of their work can be found here.

Pottery by Evelyn Ward
Pottery by Evelyn Ward

“Whether you are shopping for yourself or your favorite family member who loves local, hand-crafted treasures, you will always find wonderful ideas, gifts and treats,” said Amy Etheridge, CDCG executive director. “Meet, talk and mingle with the artists at their booths and ask questions about their process, path to proficiency and more.”

Artist Demonstrations:
Sat., Nov. 29, 2014

  • Roy Underhill, 1pm and 3pm
    When You Come to a Fork in the Wood – Take It!
    Host of the PBS series The Woodwright’s Shop and founder of The Woodwright’s School, Underhill explores how the deep structure of nature shapes our built environment.

Tai Kim, jewelerJewelry-a-Palooza:
Sun., Nov. 30, 2014

  • Janet Harriman, 12:15pm
    This jeweler will demonstrate folding and forming flat sheet metal into a hammered sculptural ring or bracelet.
  • Ginger Meek Allen, 1:15pm
    This metalsmith and custom studio jeweler will discuss the narrative power of jewelry, share stories of how her clients have used her work to honor their lives and demonstrate the assembly of a contemporary custom locket.
  • Ben Dyer, 2:30pm
    This designer goldsmith will share bench tips he’s mastered over his 39-year career as a studio jeweler.
  • Ginger Meek Allen, 3:45pm
    This metalsmith and custom studio jeweler will continue the assembly of a custom narrative locket while sharing tips on how to approach an artist to commission a personal piece of artwork.

Woodwork by Michael BrownWoodwork by Michael Brown

Collectible, handmade works, from artist-designed jewelry to sculptural furniture, are available in a wide price range.

Serving skilled artisans in this guild’s tradition for 45 years, the CDCG has grown to include more than 200 members from all over the Southeast and beyond. Annually culminating in a member showcase, the guild honors the skills it takes years to develop; recognizes the depth of knowledge and understanding of materials; and celebrates the individuality, uniqueness and innovation expressed by fine craft artists.

Written by Creative Genius Kristy Stevenson. You are invited to follow her online.

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighOn the heels of two very successful fall productions that started Carolina Ballet’s 17th season, the company is ready to segue into the annual favorite, The Nutcracker. Thousands have been captivated and fascinated by the awe-inspiring grace, grandeur and mysterious illusions of this holiday classic.

Artistic director Robert Weiss combines the beauty of classical ballet with a little Las Vegas magic. Paired with a live symphony orchestra, The Nutcracker is an unforgettable experience for audience members of all ages.

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighCarolina Ballet continues to expose audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers. Weiss first presented The Nutcracker to area audiences in 2001 and the ballet was instantly hailed by the critics as “so imaginative and stunning that it’s for the history books.”

After 10 years, however, Weiss felt the need to spice up his production in 2011 to attract a larger audience from beyond the Greater Raleigh area. He conceived a plan to incorporate real magic into the Party Scene of Act I. He began a dialogue with premier magician/illusionist Rick Thomas, and together they devised a plan for illusions that the dancers in the role of Herr Drosselmeyer would be able to pull off like pros. “Magic so real, you’ll think you’re dreaming.”

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighThey went to Las Vegas (where Thomas has a show), and for a week they took a crash course in magic. Thomas conceived the illusions Carolina Ballet presents, and Bill Smith of Magic Ventures built them. To keep The Nutcracker fresh and exciting, Weiss invited Thomas back to Raleigh this fall to introduce a new illusion into the Party Scene of the holiday classic.

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighCarolina Ballet gave its production a facelift in other areas as well. Jeff A.R. Jones designed an elegant new set for the Act I Party Scene which takes place in the Stahlbaum’s house, as well as new scenery for the “Land of the Sweets” in Act II.

Despite these changes and additions, Weiss assures patrons that the choreography has not changed, saying, “the magic is only part of the experience, the glorious Tchaikovsky score played by symphony orchestra and the amazing artistry of the Carolina Ballet professional dancers combine to make this the one holiday show not to be missed.”

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighMore than 130 children from area ballet schools have been chosen to fill the roles of Clara, Fritz, Party Scene children, mice and soldiers, gingerbread cookies, truffles, Arabian attendants and harlequins. Rehearsals have been underway since Sept., and the company sees many children come back year after year.

Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker in RaleighShowing at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Dec. 19-28. Click through for show times and tickets.

Written by Creative Genius Kristy Stevenson. You are invited to follow her online.

New Magic sponsored by WRAL-TV

Photos courtesy of Chris Walt Photography


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