Atlanta Ballet Talks about the Nutcracker the Day before Opening Night
Todd Schnick and Bryan Nonni are joined on the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio show by Jonah Hooper, a company dancer with the Atlanta Ballet. The trio discusses the Atlanta Ballet, the upcoming opening night of The Nutcracker, intimate details about the production of The Nutcracker and upcoming events for the Atlanta Ballet in 2016.
Jonah Hooper is from Atlanta and was raised in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. As a member of Atlanta Ballet for 17 seasons, Jonah has performed leading roles in many productions, including Michael Pink’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula and Romeo & Juliet; Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly; and John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. He was featured in Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge© — The Ballet and John McFall’s Don Quixote, and he worked with Helen Pickett in Petal and Prayer of Touch and with Gina Patterson in Quietly Walking. He is the official photographer of Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi and choreographed a piece in last season’s program. Jonah graduated from Georgia State University and lives in Decatur with his wife and two children. He would like to thank his wife and family for their love and support.
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals.
After 86 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. Atlanta Ballet is the oldest continuously operating company. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education, which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves more than 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet’s roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city’s cultural growth and revitalization.
For this year’s Nutcracker production, Hooper will be dancing the roles of: Snow King, Rat King, Mother Matrushka, Arabian and Mr. Petrov. The Nutcracker has become a great holiday special for the whole family, as the story is easy to follow for audience members both young and old. The little girl in The Nutcracker, Maria, gets a nutcracker from her Uncle Drosselmeyer. In his jealousy, Maria’s brother breaks the nutcracker; however, Drosselmeyer is able to fix it. That night, Maria has dreams about the events of the day where she travels to the land of sweets. In her dreams, Maria goes on a journey with the Arabian, the Russian, the Waltz of the Flowers, until she finally makes her way back home.
This year’s production is a bit different: Artistic Director John McFall twists the fate of the production to allow the heroine, Maria, to save the day. Additionally, he uses stage magic to entertain audiences with things appearing and disappearing. McFall also works heavily with the Russian dancers to impress audiences with their act.
The orchestra behind the dancers has 40 musicians in the pit. “Since I’ve been here for 18 years, there have been some of the same musicians in the pit. I’ve gotten to know them very well,” explained Hooper. “It’s nice being on stage and realizing you’re having music played by someone you know. There is a real concert element happening.”
The opening night for The Nutcracker is tomorrow, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. This opening night is the 20th anniversary celebration of The Nutcracker! After its opening, The Nutcracker will run 19 performances at The Fox Theatre until Dec. 27.
Coming up in 2016 is Wabi Sabi, a project started by John Welker. It mainly focuses on outdoor performances and brings art to places that people might not expect to see dance and art. It really creates a space for artists to produce and collaborate in outdoor spaces. In addition, Moulin Rouge is coming up in 2016, which Hooper will be performing in.
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