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The world at their feet

Ballet company brings many styles of dance to the stage just like ‘The Nutcracker’s’ Clara saw.

December 26, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

A company known for its annual “Nutcracker” performance is breaking tradition and dancing only excerpts from the holiday ballet while not straying far from the story.

Media City Ballet of Los Angeles will integrate five companies that feature different ethnic styles of dance into the show “A World of Holiday Dance” on Tuesday night at the Alex Theatre.

The theme mirrors Clara’s visit to the Land of the Sweets in the holiday tale, said Artistic Director Natasha Middleton.

“I like the idea of bringing the different cultures together because there is a cultural influence in ‘The Nutcracker,’” Middleton said. “When Clara goes to the Land of the Sweets, she’s entertained by the Russian dancers, the Arabian dancers, Chinese dancers and usually the Spanish as well.”

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The guest companies are showcasing dances from their cultures that are typically performed during the holidays, she said. The companies include Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca, Nairi Armenian Dancers of Los Angeles, Cleary Irish Dance.

Opening the show is blue13 Dance Company, which represents the Bollywood or Indian style, said Artistic Director Achinta S. McDaniel.

“It will be a 15-minute Bollywood assault on the senses because it’s so high energy, and there are vibrant-colored costumes flying all over the stage,” she said. “Dancers wear authentic jewelry, and the costumes are handmade in India.”

The diverse theme for the show is synonymous with the company’s mission — sharing the stage with diverse dance companies, McDaniel added.

“Blue13 is comprised of dancers of so many different ethnicitie;, we want to be a diverse dance company and want our audience to be diverse,” she said. “That’s why this show fits in with our mission.”

Middleton has also invited break-dance artist Lamant Goode.

“He represents America,” she said.

Joining him are other break dancers, including hip-hop dancer Nick Muller, who teaches at the company’s school Media Dance Centre, and Patrick Fitzsimmons, who dances in television commercials and performs with the Media City Youth Ballet.

“I’m excited to bring everybody together in unison,” Middleton said. “I like diversity, and I think we all have something really special to say. And the show is a wonderful way to bring a lot of the cultures together in the audience.” The icing on the cake is having her own company add just the right amount of “Nutcracker” to the mix, she said.

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