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December 09, 1990

One million people can't be wrong. Actually, more than 1 million people have taken the opportunity to see what may be the premier holiday performance, the Long Beach Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker." The ballet will open its 1990-91 season with 13 performances of the holiday favorite from Friday through Dec. 23 at the Terrace Theatre.

Bolshoi artists Alla Khaniashvili-Artyushkina and Vitaly Artyushkin will be featured guest artists in an exclusive Southern California engagement. They will perform the leading roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince. Along with the guest artists, the Long Beach Ballet will welcome former Bolshoi artist Alexander Greschenko as a permanent member of the dance company. The critically acclaimed production also will feature international award-winning ballerina Helena Ross, Tzer-Shing Wang, Many Bawden, Russell Capps, Maria Doty, Maricar Drilon, Michael French, Orna Harari, Lisa Street and Paula Vreulink.

Sets for "The Nutcracker" were created by Elliot Hessayon, formerly with Walt Disney Studios. Music will be provided by the Long Beach Ballet Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Patrick Flynn. Flynn has a longstanding history with ballet orchestras, including two years with Mikhail Baryshnikov and American Ballet Theatre performing at the Kennedy Center.

The Long Beach Ballet also will present "Sugarplum Fairyland," a special holiday donation program and enchanted forest created in the Terrace. Proceeds will go to support "Backstage at the Ballet," a theatrical dance demonstration showing behind-the-scenes magic of the "Nutcracker" production to 14,000 elementary schoolchildren.

A weekend of repertory works will compose the second performance of the ballet on March 16 and 17. The evening of short ballets will begin with Helen Coope's Peruvian folk tale "Aymara," followed by "The Unicorn" by Terri Lewis and Lanny Meyers, and conclude with David Allan's "On Occasion," currently in the repertoire of the National Ballet of Canada. The season will conclude on June 22 and 23 with Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," conceived by David Wilcox and choreographed by Christopher Tabor.

"The Nutcracker" will be performed at the Terrace Theatre in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Three additional performances of "The Nutcracker" were added this year due to sellouts the past two seasons. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Dec. 19, 20, 21 and 22, 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 23, 2:30 p.m. matinees Saturday, Dec. 16, 22 and 23. Tickets are $28 for main orchestra and main loge, $21 for orchestra and loge rear and sides, and $11 for balcony seats. Children's tickets are half price for ages 12 and younger with each adult ticket purchased. Season ticket prices are $70, $52.50 and $27.50 respectively. For more information, call 427-5206.

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