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Young Dancers in Short Supply for "Great Russian Nutcracker"

Interview with Julia Zharova

By Michael Phelan, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Young Bay Area ballet students have the opportunity to dance alongside professionals of the prestigious Moscow Ballet in the San Francisco premiere of the Great Russian Nutcracker, courtesy of Moscow Ballet's "Dance With Us" program. The program will hold a second series of auditions on Saturday, October 10 at 10:00am for local student dancers, boys and girls, ages 7 to 16 years.

Despite the opportunity of a lifetime that most ballet students would rush for, Moscow Ballet is finding few candidates available for their iconic production. "Most ballet students are already committed to performing the Nutcracker production of the schools they are enrolled in," explained 1st Russian Ballet School Artistic Director Julia Zharova. So far, she has auditioned and selected 20 students. The Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker needs a total of 62.

Zharova is optimistic that the Bay Area can answer the call for young ballet dancers when she conducts auditions at 1st Russian Ballet School on Saturday, October 10th. "For kids who love ballet, it's a very exciting opportunity to dance with professional Russian dacers on stage," said Ms. Zharova.

A native of Moscow and a graduate of the Moscow Ballet School, Julia Zharova has danced with top ballet companies, such as Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet Theater, American Ballet Theater, and Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. What she likes most about teaching ballet to children is seeing their improvement, and audience approval of their skills. "I teach that ballet is beautiful, but it is hard work," said Zharova, "that they (the students) must have dedication, discipline, patience."

A late bloomer by ballet standards, Zharova started dancing at age five, but decided to dedicate herself to ballet at age eleven. "It was very hard," she said, "but I wanted to do it." Not entirely letting go of her childhood enthusiasm for all kinds of dance, she is an accomplished dancer of Argentine Tango. "I love the passion, love the music, the dance, the elegance," she said of the Tango.

While she loves traditional ballet, she finds contemporary ballet, "more interesting more pleasing," with the perfect combination of talent and music. Her favorite work is a contemporary dance, based on classical work, choreographed by the late Dmitry Briantcev.

Auditions on will be held October 10, 10:00am at 1st Russian Ballet School, 2450 Sutter Street, San Francisco. To audition for the Great Russian Nutcracker, student dancers must have at least one year of ballet training, dress in dance attire and may bring Pointe shoes. Selected student dancers should be prepared to stay for rehearsals if cast. Moscow Ballet’s “Dance with Us” program, in its 23rd year, selects student dancers to perform ancillary roles of Party Children, Mice, Snowflakes, Angels, and more. The Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on November 28th. For more information, see http://www.nutcracker.com/education/dance-with-us-program

News from San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet has welcomed a new member of the Corps de Ballet. Kristine Butler, from Buffalo, New York, apprenticed with Charlotte Ballet, and was previously with Charlotte Ballet II. She trained at the Royal Academy of Ballet and Dance in New York and at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

American Conservatory Theater Artistic Director Carey Perloff will interview Principal Dancer Pascal Molat on November 16th at the Strand Theater. Filmmaker Kate Duhamel, who designed the projections for last season's Swimmer, will premiere a film of Molat performing a solo.

Soloist Carlo Di Lanno performs with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a guest artist throughout October and early November.

On September 30, Corps de Ballet Member Myles Thatcher premiered his new work Polaris for New York City Ballet.

Cordula Merks has been appointed concertmaster of San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. A German violinist, Merks performed as guest concertmaster for Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, and was assistant concertmaster with the Seattle Symphony. She will begin work with the Orchestra in December.

Wendy Van Dyck, school Trainee Program Assistant, is setting The Eternal Spring and The Kiss from Rodin, choreographed by the late Lenoid Yakobson of the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballets. The work is in conjunction with the publication of a new book written about Yakobson by Janice Ross, Professor at Stanford University. San Francisco Ballet Trainees will perform both pieces at New York’s 92nd Street Y on October 16.

San Francisco Ballet’s 2016 Opening Night Gala, Provocative, will open with a cocktail reception and dinner at City Hall, followed by a gala performance at the War Memorial Opera House. A post-performance party at City Hall will wrap up the festivities with live music, dancing, sweets, savories, and "libations".

San Francisco Ballet is a featured organization and participant in ART NIGHT SF, a collaboration between local galleries, museums, arts nonprofits, city agencies and independent artists. The event, held on October 22nd at UN Plaza, champions the arts in San Francisco.


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Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:58 PM