[Posted October 25, 2022]
Portland Ballet Production of John Clifford’s The Enchanted Toyshop Dates: Nov. 26-27, 2022 Times: 1 and 4 p.m. Where: Lincoln Performance Hall at Portland State University, 1620 SW Park at Market, Portland, OR Tickets: $10-$38, on sale beginning Oct. 21 Runtime: About one hour (including one intermission) Information: theportlandballet.org or 503-452-8448 ext. 106
From its studios at the corner of Sunset Dr. and Capitol Hwy, the Portland Ballet operates a world-class dance academy right here in Portland. Once again this year the company is bringing back a holiday favorite for Thanksgiving weekend. Choreographed specifically for the Portland Ballet by John Clifford, Toyshop (formerly known by its French title La Boutique Fantasque) showcases various skill levels and international dance styles. Since its premiere in 2003, Toyshop has become TPB's signature showpiece. “The Portland Ballet is excited to perform The Enchanted Toyshop this coming Thanksgiving weekend after a five-year hiatus,” said Artistic Director Nancy Davis. “Audiences and dancers alike love this heartwarming ballet, our alternative to The Nutcracker, which is a great way to celebrate and kick off the holiday season.”
Lauren Lane, a founding student at the academy who went on to dance professionally with the Saint Louis Ballet, will reprise her role as Amelie, which she first performed as a student in 2006 and 2007. Lane, who is now the company’s Associate Artistic Director, performed in the original production of Toyshop in 2003 as a Can Can doll. Nick Le-Jurica, a former student who graduated from Juilliard in New York City and danced professionally with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, will also perform in the production as a Cossack dancer. Le-Jurica, who is now the company’s Director of Community Engagement, performed the Tarantella in Toyshop as a student. Clifford, an artistic advisor for The Portland Ballet who regularly works with its students, reorganized and added characters to the 1919 ballet that was originally choreographed by Léonide Massine and premiered by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. A Balanchine protégé and founder of Los Angeles Ballet, Clifford stages Balanchine ballets and sets his own choreography on companies around the world. “I have a lot of humor in it,” Clifford said. “The dancing is very sophisticated. There are about five or six roles that are high level." The show “offers comedy and pathos, fantasy and romance,” dance critic Martha Ullman West wrote for Oregon ArtsWatch, “a thoroughly satisfactory happily-ever-after-ending, and a lot of dancing."
What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition that happens in Hillsdale? Let us know.