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All Tickets $5 Off from 10 a.m. to Noon
(subject to restrictions)

American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet Guest Artists
for Thursday and Friday Nutcracker Performances

WINSTON-SALEM – There are a few local traditions that you just can’t miss every fall: the Dixie Classic Fair, the start of the college football season at Wake Forest and WSSU, and the annual kick-off event for The Nutcracker. This year’s kick-off event will take place at the Stevens Center, located at 405 West Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon. This will be the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the 2012 University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ (UNCSA) production of The Nutcracker. Attendance at last year’s production averaged 92 percent with several shows selling out.

While tickets for The Nutcracker will go on sale to the public officially on Monday, Oct. 1 at the UNCSA Box Office, the special Nutcracker box office opening kick-off event on Sept. 29 is a special “insider’s opportunity” to get 2012 Nutcracker tickets early. As a bonus, those who purchase tickets during the event will be among the first to choose seats and are eligible to receive a $5 discount off each ticket (cannot be combined with any other discount). The $5 off per ticket is eligible for walk-up sales ONLY at the UNCSA Box Office at the Stevens Center on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. until noon. The discount is limited to six tickets per person.

The Sept. 29 kickoff event at the Stevens Center also will feature a variety of FREE fun activities for the whole family including holiday refreshments, face painting, children’s crafts and a chance to have photos taken with characters from The Nutcracker! The Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and the Snow Queen will be on hand to pose with your child. Get into the holiday spirit and get a jump start on your holiday cards! Remember to bring your cameras.

Douglas Gawriljuk, a former faculty member of the UNCSA School of Dance who now teaches dance in West Palm Beach, Fla., will return to supervise the 2012 production of The Nutcracker. This year, guest artists Veronika Part (Principal, ABT) and Charles Askegard (Principal, New York City Ballet and Soloist, American Ballet Theatre) will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier Prince at the performances on December 13 at 7:30 p.m. and December 14 at 7:30 p.m. (Note to editors: additional information on Gawriljuk, Part and Askegard below)

The full performance schedule for the UNCSA production of The Nutcracker is: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Ticket prices (not including $5 presale event discount) are: Prime Orchestra, $68; Orchestra Center, $50 for adults and $35 for children 13 and under; Orchestra Sides and Front Balcony, $45 for adults and $30 for children 13 and under; Center Balcony, $33 for adults and $24 for children 13 and under; Rear Balcony, $25 for adults and $20 for children 13 and under. Prime Orchestra seating for the two guest artist performances on Dec. 13 and 14 is $75.

For the best deal in town take advantage of the great prices on The Nutcracker “Family Four Pack” for the evening performances on Thursday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 16: $130 for Orchestra Side/Front Balcony and $95 for Center Balcony. The “Family Four Pack” offer is subject to availability.

UNCSA’s heralded ballet The Nutcracker received rave reviews from critics and enthusiastic audiences since the reimagined production debuted in 2009. Directed by Ethan Stiefel, former Dean of the UNCSA School of Dance and now artistic director for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the 2012 production of The Nutcracker remains one of the most-anticipated Triad holiday traditions.

2012 marks the first production of The Nutcracker under the leadership of Susan Jaffe, who was named dean of the UNCSA School of Dance earlier this year. Jaffe is widely known and respected as one of the leading ballerinas in America. For 22 years, Jaffe danced with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), where, after she retired from the stage, she joined the faculty of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

The immensely popular Tchaikovsky Nutcracker ballet music will be performed by the UNCSA Nutcracker Orchestra under the musical direction of special guest conductor Charles Barker, who is the Principal Conductor for the American Ballet Theatre. Three members of the UNCSA School of Dance faculty – Nigel Burley, Warren Conover and Susan McCullough – worked with Stiefel on the choreography for The Nutcracker that has delighted audiences. Since 2009, lighting for The Nutcracker has been by ABT Resident Lighting Designer and UNCSA School of Design & Production alumnus Brad Fields and new set pieces were designed by UNCSA Design & Production faculty member Howard Jones. Costumes were designed by Kathryn E. Grillo and Carolyn Fay, staff at the UNCSA Dance Costume Shop.

Born in Brazil, Douglas Gawriljuk was trained by his father, Ruslan Gawriljuk, and also took the exams of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England, where he graduated with honors in September 1986. From 1988 through 1990, he attended the School of American Ballet in New York. As a professional dancer, Gawriljuk’s repertoire includes the classics and contemporary works by today’s leading choreographers. Gawriljuk joined Miami City Ballet as a principal dancer from 1993-1998 and later in 1999. His special performances with Miami City Ballet include tours to The Spoleto Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., The Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Wolftrap’s 25th anniversary and the 1997 Next Step gala. From 2006-2009, he danced for Ballet Florida under the artistic direction of Marie Hale, and retired from his dancing career. He was a member of the UNCSA dance faculty from 2010 to 2012 and is now a self-employed dance teacher/choreographer in West Palm Beach.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1978, Veronika Part joined the Kirov Ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 1998. Part’s repertoire with the Kirov included Nikiya in “La Bayadère,” the Queen of the Dryads in “Don Quixote,” Myrta, Moyna and Zulma in “Giselle,” Raymonda and Henrietta in “Raymonda,” the Lilac Fairy in “The Sleeping Beauty” and Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake.” She also danced roles in George Balanchines’ “Apollo” (Terpsichore), “Jewels” (Emeralds and Diamonds), Symphony in C (second movement) and “Serenade,” and in John Neumeiers’ “The Sounds of Empty Pages.” Part was the winner of the BALTIKA Prize in 1999. She joined American Ballet Theatre in New York as a Soloist in August 2002 and became a principal dancer in 2010.

Charles Askegard has had a distinguished performing career, which began with the American Ballet Theatre, where he performed as a soloist, and continued with the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer. During his career he has performed leading roles in the full-length ballets “Giselle,” “La Bayadere,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Swan Lake,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Jewels” and “Manon.” While at American Ballet Theatre, he worked with Agnes de Mille and performed lead roles in “Rodeo,” “Fall River Legend,” and “The Other.” Askegard has been a guest artist performing in companies around the world including, The Dutch National Ballet, Bavarian State Opera, The National Ballet of Canada, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Philippine Ballet Theatre, and has been a guest of many dance festivals worldwide. He also is a co-founder and director of a new ballet company, Ballet Next.

America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. World-renowned conductor and educator John Mauceri became Chancellor of UNCSA in 2006. For more information, visit