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This year marks the fifth production of Graham Lustig’s refreshing version of the holiday classic. Lustig’s first production of the piece added some new choreography, clever storytelling, plus vivid sets and costumes. “Now, we focus our energies on reconfiguring the work as closely as possible,” he said. One of the things that does change each year is the progression of the young dancers, many of whom have been with the production for several years. “Of our 40 young dancers, about half have been with us before,” Lustig said. “There is a nice progression to their roles as they age and mature as dancers. Most start as a mouse, then a party child, then a snowball and, possibly, a soldier, then a rat and then a bonbon. So each year, they have a new role to learn and look forward to.”.
One such student is Head-Royce freshman Julia Milani, who has been with the company for four years, “It’s so exhilarating to perform at the Paramount, I started out as a snowball but have worked my way up to being both a soldier and a bonbon,” said Milani, professional latin dance shoes an Orinda resident, “I really enjoy the battle scenes, and I also love performing with the professional dancers and meeting other young dancers from all over the Bay Area.”, Lustig noted that the same progression is true for Oakland Ballet’s professional dancers, Last year, Megan Terry danced the juvenile role of Marie, also known as Clara, But, this year, she is the Sugar Plum Fairy..
“As dancers become better technically, they take on more responsibility,” Lustig said. “Megan’s role this year is much more demanding.” Also trying on a new role is Connolly Strombeck, who played the Cavalier last year and dances Uncle Drosselmeyer this season. “It’s a nice little shift for him that keeps things interesting for the dancers and for the audience,” Lustig added. Gregory DeSantis will reprise his role as the Nutcracker with Justin Genna as the Cavalier.
“The heart and soul of Oakland Ballet is to interact with the community,” Lustig said, “One way we do that is by going out to the professional latin dance shoes schools and doing demonstrations, We also give away 500 tickets to each performance, It allows people who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend the wonderful experience of walking into the Paramount’s incredible foyer and seeing a 30-foot-high Christmas tree, When the lights go down and the orchestra starts, it’s quite a thrilling experience.”..
Hearing those words transports Jill Elliott back to her childhood in Cupertino and to the December day each year when she and her family would haul their freshly cut Christmas tree into the living room. “I would be champing at the bit waiting for my dad to put up the lights so I could decorate,” says Elliott, now 35 and living in San Jose. “And my mom would always play the Johnny Mathis ‘Merry Christmas’ Christmas album while we decorated.”. In recalling a fond memory, Elliott is also describing the powerful emotional experience that overtakes many people during the holiday season: nostalgia.
It may be the season to deck the halls professional latin dance shoes and be jolly; it’s also the season when people often indulge in remembrances of things past, say experts who document the psychological and emotional benefits of nostalgia, Indeed, taking mental trips down memory lane while wrapping gifts or taking the kids to a tree-lighting can be a way to reflect on important relationships and recharge emotionally and psychologically this time of year, “Like anniversaries and other temporal landmarks, the holidays remind us of special times and help us keep track of what has changed, and what has remained the same in our lives — and in ourselves,” says Krystine Batcho, a professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, who focuses on the psychological benefits of nostalgia..
The emphasis on social interaction during the holidays is “truly the stuff of nostalgia,” emails Tim Wildschut, an associate professor and member of a research team at the University of Southampton in England who studies nostalgia. “Also, Christmas involves rituals, including foods and drinks, that remain the same across time and therefore become potent memory cues.”. The triggers for holiday nostalgia have been everywhere for more than a month: the twinkling lights, the scent of eggnog and gingerbread rising from coffeehouse lattes, Christmas carols playing on store soundtracks.
And then there are the “Nutcracker” ballets, the “Christmas professional latin dance shoes Carol” renditions and annual replays of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and other holiday-themed movies and TV shows that often feature idealized visions of the past, big houses surrounded by snow and life-affirming stories about the beauty of love, family and human goodness, But the triggers don’t just come from contemporary Don Drapers or Hollywood moguls who are pushing our sentiment buttons to sell products or entertainment, It turns out that holiday nostalgia is conditioned by centuries of culture, and nostalgia itself may be hard-wired into our brains, according to both Batcho and Wildschut..