Overseas stars join Cork City Ballet for production of family favorite
After a Covid-19 related hiatus and the many challenges that have come with it, Cork City Ballet is back to ‘work magic’ on the Cork Opera House stage with the return of a classic. Directed by Alan Foley with choreography by Yury Demakov, The Nutcracker will take place at Cork Opera House in November for four performances.
The production will star Katerina Petrova, Prima Ballerina of the National Ballet of Sofia in Bulgaria as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Tsetso Ivanov as her prince, as well as directors, soloists and a full corps de ballet.
“I always use the magic word when it comes to The Nutcracker because that’s exactly what it is. And also…it’s a wonderful introduction for children to classical ballet and classical music” , says Alan Foley, who also promises that the massive snow scene will leave audiences – especially its younger members – “awed and amazed”.
Cork has a long tradition of ballet and this year Cork City Ballet celebrates 30 years in business, having held its first series of performances in 1992. But, according to Foley, everyone involved with the ballet company can trace their lineage back to Joan Denise Moriarty – a name synonymous with ballet in Ireland.
While the longest-running professional ballet, Cork City Ballet has not received Arts Council funding since 2011, and Foley says the company depends on funding from Cork City Council and Benchmark International, which is one of their sponsors – as well as other local businesses and corporations.
“Cork Opera House is wonderful and has been a great ally. A very loyal ally of Cork City Ballet for many years,” says Foley, also Founder and Artistic Director of Cork City Ballet. “And of course the other thing, and the most important thing, is the public because if the public doesn’t come to see us, then we can’t function.”
So with Covid and its immense impact on the arts, how did they keep it all going? ” We did not do it. We just had to stop. Everything stopped, every class, every performance. He just died and like everything else, it just had to keep going.
However, with their first production since 2019’s Swan Lake fast approaching, excitement is building and preparations are in full swing with a cast of 50, including 22 children, ready to perform The Nutcracker.
” I can not wait to be there. I know in particular that The Nutcracker is a family favourite, especially for kids and it’s nice to see the kids having fun and seeing the magic happen on stage. And that for me — when I see that, it’s worth it. All struggles and challenges are ignored,” Foley says.
Looking at the seemingly effortless elegance on stage, it’s hard to imagine the preparation behind the scenes. Everything is involved in making it all happen and although professional dancers have danced this ballet and many others before, there are still a lot of logistics to sort out before the show starts, like finding them accommodation.
“It’s always very hard work to put everything in place and there are so many logistics, including finding accommodation for the dancers which is also my job because you have dancers who come to the country for two, three, four weeks. Finding accommodation for that period of time is just crazy.
Fortunately, the ballerinas have found a home and the public can look forward to a spectacular performance. With plenty of drama and excitement wrapped in the beauty of classical ballet, there really is, as Foley says, “something for everyone.”
“It’s been really, I would say, difficult to kind of come back into the role of setting it all up, but it’s nice to be back too and doing some magic at the Cork Opera House.”
- The Nutcracker will take place at Cork Opera House on 3, 4 and 5 November, for four performances only – including a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 5