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Uncle Drosselmeyer, performed by Yevhenii Kuchvar, winds up the Kissy Doll, performed by Svetlana Lisniak, during the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker show at Bicknell Tuesday, Nov. 12. Kuchvar later presented Masha with her Nutcracker doll. Lesly Bocanegra

Moscow Ballet returns to PSU

Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcraker” has graced many stages, and the Great Russian Nutcracker tour has come through Pittsburg. 

The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts hosted the Moscow Ballet for their production of the ‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall. The performance featured the music of Russian composer Piotr Tchaikovsky and dancing by the members of the Moscow Ballet. The dance company of the Moscow Ballet features award-winning solo dancers and approximately 40 classically trained ensemble dancers. The ballet company also routinely invites local children to dance in productions of the ‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ as the ballet offers several dancing opportunities for young children. 

The Moscow Ballet regularly tours throughout the United States and Canada but began as a home ballet in Moscow during the time of the Soviet Union. The ballet grew out of an increased desire for ‘artistic openness’ in Russia and was formed by a group of classical dancers who wanted to create one of the first internationally-touring Soviet ballet company. 

“They were very easy to work with,” said Brett Hale, junior in manufacturing engineering technology and senior technician at the Bicknell Center. “It certainly was a long day, but the dancers made it easier.” 

Hale and others at the Bicknell Center worked on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to help load in and load in the Moscow Ballet. 

“We got them in during the morning and then, we stuck around to help during the day,” Hale said. “It was a great experience for me, and everyone involved.” 

Hale, who is a musician himself, said he “enjoyed” the production of the “Great Russian Nutcracker.” 

“It was very interesting to watch,” Hale said. “I got to see the behind-the-scenes part of it, and that made seeing the front-end side of it much cooler.” 

Hale also encouraged students to come see the Moscow Ballet the next time they come through the Bicknell Center. 

“Even if you’re not into music, you can get something out of it,” Hale said. “It’s a great cultural experience regardless of your major or career path. You may have never been to the ballet before, and so it’s just a brand-new experience…”  

Hale helped to supervise both the Moscow Ballet while they stayed in the Bicknell Center as well as other student employees, including junior in music education Ethan Pope. 

“I really enjoyed working the ballet,” Pope said. “I liked the fast-paced way the Ballet guys had us working…” 

Pope assisted with the load out primarily but said it was ultimately a rewarding experience. 

“Yeah, the Russian guys were a little blunt,” Pope said. “I’d be moving something, and they would start shouting in Russian at me to get me to go faster… It was kind of scary, but also kind of a blast…” 

According to the Moscow Ballet website, the Moscow Ballet’s mission is to “promote the appreciation of ballet as an art form and bring families together for the holidays.” 

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