Carolina Ballet's 'Nutcracker' boasts live magic

Posted December 2, 2011

— One of the key figures in the holiday ballet "The Nutcracker" is magician Dr. Drosselmeyer. This year, the Carolina Ballet will take the magical ballet one step further through live magic on stage. 

"We're adding magic to the show, but it's not a magic show. Hopefully, we're making 'The Nutcracker' even more magical than it already is," Carolina Ballet Artistic Director Ricky Weiss said Friday. 

Weiss has directed the acclaimed ballet company since it landed in Raleigh 13 years ago. It was "The Nutcracker" that led him to this career.

"When I was 5 years old, my parents took me to 'Nutcracker.' The lights went down, the curtain went up, and I was transformed. My imagination soared, and it changed my life forever," Weiss said.  nutcracker Behind the Scenes: The Nutcracker

Over the summer in Las Vegas, illusionist Rick Thomas trained "Nutcracker" ballet performers to pull off each magical feat, including levitation and shrinking children. Thomas said he jumped at the opportunity to craft real illusions within the show, although he knew it would be challenging.

"I had one dancer come up to me and say, 'I'm a dancer. I don't do tricks.' I said, 'Don't worry, it's not about the magic. You won't be doing tricks. We're going to make you look beautiful, and we value your art form,'" Thomas said.

'Nutcracker' features live magic 'Nutcracker' features live magic

The classic story of the Nutcracker Prince starts this weekend at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall before moving to the Durham Performing Arts Center on Dec. 10-11. It will set up in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts' Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for shows Dec. 16-24.


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