Moscow Ballet brings Great Russian Nutcracker to GJ



The Western Slope Concert Series will present four performances of the Nutcracker with California’s State Street Ballet.

The performances at the Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction are set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28.

Tickets for the shows are available at all City Market stores for $23. Tickets are $26 at the door. Student tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door.

There also is a performance of The Nutcracker at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, at the Montrose Pavilion. Those tickets range in price and are available at the Pavilion.

More information is available at 970-241-0741 or at

Western Colorado will be in prestigious company this holiday season.

The famed Moscow Ballet is performing its Great Russian Nutcracker holiday show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at Avalon Theatre, 159 Main St.

It is only one of three performances the Moscow Ballet will stage in Colorado this year. It also marks the first time Moscow Ballet has ever performed in Grand Junction.

“Moscow Ballet looks for new communities that have not experienced the company,” said Akiva Talmi, show producer. “It is a special gift to the Grand Junction community.”

The Nutcracker is a fairytale ballet. Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the music in 1892, and the Moscow Ballet stays true to Tchaikovsky’s music during its two-hour performance.

“Ballet is the national expression of Russian people, akin to sports or baseball in the United States,” Talmi said. “It is the interpretation of Tchaikovsky. He really expresses the soul of the Russian people.”

The Moscow Ballet’s performance in Grand Junction features Akzhol Mussakhanov as the Nutcracker Prince and Ekaterina Bortyakova as Masha.The performance includes local children who auditioned months ago to be in the show. All the other ballerinas are from Russia, Talmi said.

The Grand Junction show will include 40 Russian dancers, more than 400 costumes, 12 life-size puppets and 12 backdrops.

“Kids are really mesmerized by the grandeur, color, really the magic of Tchaikovsky,” Talmi said.

But that isn’t all that potentially could wow crowds.

The Moscow Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker is heavily influenced by traditional Russian ballet.

Watching a stage of Russian ballerinas is an experience in and of itself, said Josh Rupp, spokesman for the Moscow Ballet.

Rupp is originally from Louisville, Ky., and had never seen the Moscow Ballet perform until recently, when the Nutcracker tour began in New York.

“It was awesome,” Rupp said. “They pride themselves on Russian ballet. I did not grow up on ballet, so seeing it in that light was great.

“The biggest thing is people like me don’t grasp how traditional it is. People who don’t know dance can see that. I just never thought I could see it until I sat down and watched it. It was a really, really cool experience. I’m 22, so to experience it was a really cool thing. “

Talmi, who is from Israel and has Russian parents, has been a producer for the Moscow Ballet for nearly 20 years.He worked with Soviet dancers during the Cold War era. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it changed everything about Russian performance, he said.

“The wall came down and everything burst open,” Talmi said.

The current tour of the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker includes 70 cities and 100 performances. Grand Junction is part of the Western North American U.S. tour.

The Avalon Theatre’s size prohibits the Moscow Ballet from performing alongside a full-size orchestra, so the music will be pumped through speakers.

Tickets to Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker are available at or


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