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Cuban-American Artist Designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo to Design New Sets and Costumes 

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center Partners with Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation’s Everybody Dance! for the December 2017 Return of the Classic Story Ballet to The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion


LOS ANGELES (March 6, 2017) – In a move sure to delight children and families, The Music Center, L.A.’s performing arts destination, announced it will bring a favorite holiday tradition back to Los Angeles with a co-commission of an all-new production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® by Miami City Ballet.  The production, with new sets and costumes by Cuban-American artist-designer power couple Isabel and Ruben Toledo, will have its world premiere at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion from December 7 – 10, 2017 as part of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center 2017-2018 season.  After a five-year absence, the story ballet returns to The Music Center this holiday season and will include, for the first time, student dancers from two L.A.-based arts academies, Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation’s everybody dance! program.  The production will feature Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s timeless score played by a live orchestra, along with live vocal music from the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. 

Miami City Ballet has been one of the few companies in the country to continuously perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, which it has done for almost 30 years.  The Huffington Post said, “The dancers of the Miami City Ballet do George Balanchine better than anyone else.”  Audiences will join Marie and herNutcracker Prince as they travel through a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes, The Sugar Plum Fairy and an epic battle between heroic toy soldiers and mischievous mice in this lavish new production.

In collaboration with Miami City Ballet Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, the Toledos will apply their uniquely individualistic art and design aesthetic to create enchanting new sets and costumes that bring to life a child’s imagination and embellish the fanciful language of dreams.  Isabel Toledo, who has been described as a radical classicist, has been designing and exhibiting her collections twice-yearly since 1984 and became an international household name when she created the lemongrass lace coat dress worn by former First Lady Michelle Obama at President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.  Ruben Toledo has created illustrations for such prestigious publications as The New Yorker, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and The New York Times, among others.  His work has been exhibited at prestigious institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Pitti Palace in Italy.

Wendall K. Harrington, award-winning projection designer known as the godmother of modern projection design, and lighting designer James K. Ingalls, known for his work on Broadway and with international and national ballet and opera companies, will join the Toledos on the artistic team.

According to Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, bringing Balanchine’s classic Nutcracker back to Los Angeles is part of the performing arts center’s efforts to provide programming that has broad-based appeal.  “The Music Center is thrilled to give Angelenos a Nutcracker ballet they can call their own and to work with the incredible artists of Miami City Ballet, the Toledos, Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation to make it happen.  The Toledos’ vision for this dazzling new production, complemented by George Balanchine’s classic choreography and Tchaikovsky's beautiful music, will scintillate audiences and offer an experience that reminds us all of the magic and wonder of the holiday season,” she said.  “This new production of a classic story will appeal to young and old alike and become a tradition that both families and dance aficionados will enjoy for years to come.”

“We are honored to be bringing this stunning new production of The Nutcracker to The Music Center and sharing it with Los Angeles audiences,” said Lourdes Lopez, artistic director of Miami City Ballet.  “Mr. Balanchine’s beloved classic will be completely transformed by the Toledos’ unique designs and is destined to become the highlight of the holiday season.  We are pleased to share the magic with Los Angeles audiences who will be the very first to see this new Nutcracker come to life.”

“In designing this new Nutcracker world, we are inspired by Gothic Romanticism, Tchaikovsky’s regal compositions and the elegance of George Balanchine’s original ballet,” said Ruben Toledo.  “We look forward to working closely with Miami City Ballet and The Music Center to create a mesmerizing production that will transport audiences into a delicious fantasy based on a beloved classic.”  

The magical five-day engagement will kick off with a celebratory performance of the new production on December 7, 2017, in conjunction with The Music Center’s Winter Soirée, a major benefit for The Music Center’s arts education, dance and community programs.  During the evening, The Music Center will present its Excellence in the Performing Arts Award to an artist who is a pioneer in the creative and the performing arts.  In 2016, the inaugural award was presented to Rita Moreno for her revolutionary efforts to help redefine the role of women in the arts.  The Soirée includes a pre-performance cocktail hour, a performance of the new George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® and an exclusive dinner in The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Marc and Eva Stern Grand Hall.  

This summer, the Colburn School will hold two Nutcracker workshop intensives led by Colburn Dance Academy Director Jenifer Ringer and Associate Director James Fayette, both former principal dancers of the New York City Ballet.  Dancers ages 7 to 12 are invited to audition for the opportunity to join students from both the Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation’s everybody dance! program to attend and learn choreography in preparation for the chance to be chosen and cast by The George Balanchine Trust in The Music Center’s production of the new George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® by Miami City Ballet.  If selected to perform, students will come to the Colburn campus throughout the fall to prepare for the amazing experience of performing on The Music Center stage. 

“It is an honor to partner with the prestigious Miami City Ballet and The Music Center on this holiday tradition, and we are pleased that we can help fulfill the dreams of the many young Colburn School and The Gabriella Foundation students who will dance in this very special production of The Nutcracker,” said Sel Kardan, president and CEO of Colburn School.  “The Colburn School experience is about discovering excellence at any age; being part of this magical production will surely inspire our youngest dancers as they embark upon their artistic journey.”

A program of The Gabriella Foundation, everybody dance! provides high quality, sequential dance instruction to low-income youth ages 4 to 19 at little or no cost.  Everybody dance! engages children physically and mentally; helps them acquire dance skills, knowledge and self-discipline; strengthens their life skills; and develops in them a love and appreciation for dance and the arts.  Through a variety of dance classes – Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Hip-Hop, Break-dancing – students find mentorship, care and a safe place to build positive friendships and explore creative outlets in communities often characterized by gang activity and drugs.  Carol Zee, artistic director for the program, is delighted for everybody dance! students, "This is such an extraordinary opportunity for our dancers.  They are so excited to be a part of the new George Balanchine The Nutcracker®, and we are truly grateful to Colburn School and The Music Center for making this possible!"

Tickets for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® performances at The Music Center will be available starting April 11, 2017 as part of season subscriptions for Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center.  Single tickets will be available for purchase in the summer of 2017.  For more information, visit

Major funding for the new production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® has been generously provided by: Mary Spencer, Deborah and Charles Adelman, Kristi and Dean Jernigan, Susan D. Kronick and Edward M. Shumsky, and The Music Center.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® by Miami City Ballet
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Production and Costume Design:Isabel and Ruben Toledo
Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington
Lighting Design: James K. Ingalls

About Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center is one of the leading presenters of dance on the West Coast. The celebrated series offers significant works by prestigious ballet and contemporary dance artists from around the world.  Entering its second decade, Dance at The Music Center continues to be a powerful commissioning force through the support of new works and artists-in-residence projects by today’s most influential companies and choreographers.  Performances take place throughout The Music Center, including the historic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the distinctive Ahmanson Theatre, the intimate Mark Taper Forum and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, providing the ideal setting for inspiring dance experiences.

About The Music Center

As L.A.’s performing arts destination, The Music Center is L.A.’s home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events.  With four iconic theaters and four renowned resident companies – Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the LA Opera and the LA Phil – and recognized for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, The Music Center is a destination where audiences find inspiration in the very best of live performance, as well as nationally recognized arts education and participatory arts experiences.  The Music Center also programs and manages Grand Park, a 12-acre adjacent greenspace, with year-round free programming.  For more information, visit  Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@MusicCenterLA).

About Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet (MCB) recently celebrated its 30th anniversary season, earning critical acclaim from The New York Times: "Bold, light, immediate, intensely musical, the dancing of Miami City Ballet flies straight to the heart."  Led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez since 2012, MCB was founded in 1985 by Miami philanthropist Toby Lerner Ansin and Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella.  The Company has 51 dancers and a repertoire of more than 100 ballets.  MCB performs for nearly 100,000 patrons annually during its South Florida home season in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples, and tours to top theaters domestically and internationally.  Miami City Ballet School, the official school of Miami City Ballet, is one of the most respected ballet training academies in America.  The School’s renowned faculty, challenging syllabus and affiliation with Miami City Ballet make it a place where all students – from children to adults – can receive comprehensive dance training.  The School trains approximately 400 students, ages 3-18, in its year round program, and 400 during its summer programs, granting nearly $500,000 in scholarships annually.  More than 500 adults participate in a vibrant community division.  Miami City Ballet is headquartered in Miami Beach, Fla., at the Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center, a facility designed by renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica.

About Colburn Dance Academy

The Colburn School comprises four academic units united by a single philosophy that all who have a desire to study the performing arts should have the opportunity and access to excellent training.  The degree-granting Conservatory of Music, the open enrollment Community School of Performing Arts, the Music Academy for pre-college musicians, and the pre-professional Dance Academy, a program of the Colburn School’s Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, provide training to over 2,000 students from the Los Angeles area and across the world.  The renowned teachers, performers, and scholars that make up Colburn’s dedicated faculty serve as invaluable mentors to guide students’ artistic development.  For more information, please visit

About Los Angeles Children’s Chorus

Los Angeles Children's Chorus (LACC), lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), is noted for its agile bel canto sound and artistic excellence.  Celebrating its 31st season, LACC is led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson.  It performs with LA Opera, LA Phil, LA Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Calder Quartet and Jacaranda, among others.  LACC serves more than 400 children ages 6-18 in six progressive choirs and a First Experiences in Singing program.  LACC received Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and tours extensively.  The subject of three documentaries, it has appeared on NBC's “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio and Public Radio International's “From the Top.”

Calendar Listing/ George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® by Miami City Ballet at The Music Center

The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012


  • Thursday, December 7, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 8, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 9, 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 9, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 10, 11:00 a.m.
  • Sunday, December 10, 3:00 p.m.

Tickets will be available to subscribers on April 11, 2017 as part of season subscriptions for Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center.  Single tickets will be available for purchase in the summer of 2017.  For more information, visit


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