Starring principal dancers from Boston Ballet and native Long Island dance celebrity
Eglevsky Ballet, Long Island’s premier ballet company and academy, presents its annual production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker starring Boston Ballet principals Ji Young Chae and Jeffrey Cirio Miller as the “Sugar Plum Fairy” and the “Cavalier”, respectively. The production also stars Long Island native and dance celebrity Buddy Casimano as “Dr. Stahlbaum”, the father of “Clara,” the ballet’s protagonist. The Nutcracker features choreography by the company’s executive artistic director, Maurice Brandon Curry. Eglevsky Ballet’s production will be performed with live music provided by the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, under the baton of maestro David Bernard. The performances will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale. Tickets may be purchased at the Tilles Center box office or through Ticketmaster.
Eglevsky Ballet brings the beloved story to the Tilles Center stage with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning costumes, thrilling choreography and a cast comprised of over sixty students and the company’s professional dancers. Eglevsky Ballet’s production is the longest, continuously running production on Long Island. Directed and choreographed by Executive Artistic Director Maurice Brandon Curry, Eglevsky Ballet’s production tells the story of a young girl named “Clara” and how a mysterious gift from her godfather, “Herr Drosselmeyer” brings about an enchanted, fantastical dream. The Eglevsky Ballet has presented The Nutcracker as a holiday gift for children of all ages since 1961. This exciting production is a vibrant representation of the trajectory in which Mr. Curry is leading the organization.
This year, the role of “Clara” will be danced by 16-year-old Eglevsky Ballet student Claire Higgins. Claire has been a student at Eglevsky Ballet for the past ten productions of The Nutcracker. The central first act pas de deux in the prelude to “Waltz of the Snowflakes” in most productions is usually danced by a “Snow Queen” and a “Snow King”. Mr. Curry has the music (his personal favorite in the ballet) performed by the characters “Clara” and “The Nutcracker Prince”. “Having this pas de deux danced by these two characters,” Curry says, “intensifies the connection between the two characters. We see the arc of their relationship and this gives the opportunity for Clara’s dream to have a more poignant and personal effect on our audiences.”
Eglevsky Ballet is also partnering with Birthday Wishes of Long Island to offer support assistance in their mission. Birthday Wishes provides a birthday gift and a “Birthday-in-a-Box” for children experiencing homelessness. Jamie Rapfogel, the Director of the Long Island Branch states, “We are thrilled to partner with the Eglevsky Ballet and their holiday performance of The Nutcracker this December at the Tilles Center! What a special way to allow the families we serve to experience the magic and delight that this event allows. Just as our mission of providing birthday parties for children experiencing homelessness brings feelings of normalcy and joy so does the honor of watching the Eglevsky Ballet’s holiday extravaganza!” Eglevsky Ballet is asking all who attend the performances to bring an unwrapped toy for boys and girls ages 1-17 to donate to Birthday Wishes.
Do not miss these performances of The Nutcracker with Long Island’s own Eglevsky Ballet at the Tilles Center on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Featuring live music provided by the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony and guest stars from New York City Ballet and television, it is a production not to be missed.
Production Guest Stars & Creatives
Ji Young Chae (“Sugar Plum Fairy”) trained at Seoul Arts High School and Korea National University of Arts. In 2011, she joined Washington Ballet. Chae joined Boston Ballet in 2013 and was promoted to soloist in 2015. Chae was awarded the gold medal at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, and first prize at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 2011, she received the gold medal at the Boston International Ballet Competition. She has performed at the Paris Conservatory Ballet Festival and the International Baltic Ballet Festival Gala. She has performed at the Paris Conservatory Ballet Festival and the International Baltic Ballet Festival Gala.
Her Boston Ballet repertoire includes repertoire in both classical and contemporary repertory with choreographers as diverse as Karole Armitage, George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Mikko Nissinen’s and Justin Peck. Ji Young Chae joined Boston Ballet in 2013, was promoted to soloist in 2015, and to principal dancer in 2018.
Jeffrey Cirio (“Cavalier”) began his ballet training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He also studied at Boston Ballet School and Orlando Ballet School. In 2006, he was awarded a Grand Prix medal in the regionals, and a gold medal in the New York finals of Youth America Grand Prix. He went on to win a bronze medal at the 2006 U.S. International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS and a silver medal at the 5th Seoul International Dance Competition. Cirio’s other awards include “Best Male Dancer” at the 2006 American Ballet Competition. Mr. Cirio also won a gold medal at the 2009 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, becoming the first American to do so.
Cirio danced for Boston Ballet in 2009 as a corps de ballet member and was awarded the coveted Princess Grace Fellowship for 2009. He was promoted to second soloist in 2010 and principal dancer in 2012. Cirio then joined American Ballet Theatre in September 2015 as a soloist and was promoted to principal dancer in June 2016. He joined ENB as Lead Principal in 2018. In 2022, he won Outstanding Male Classical Performance in the UK from the National Dance Awards for his role in “Creature,” choreographed by Akram Khan. Cirio performs in galas and events throughout the US, and internationally, including in China, Japan, Ukraine, Mexico, and Mongolia. He is the co-founder (with his sister and fellow principal, Lia Cirio) and Artistic Director of Cirio Collective, and has created works for the Collective, Boston Ballet, Ballet Academy East, Central PA Youth Ballet and English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer.In May of 2022, Cirio was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine.
—Submitted by Eglevsky Ballet