Festival Ballet Theatre

International Ballet Stars Dance in Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Fountain Valley, CA (October 19, 2016) — Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), Orange County’s resident professional ballet company, will present the family favorite production of The Nutcracker, December 10 - 24, 2016 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.

Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly, breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT's professional company dancers, and exceptional young talent from across the Southland.

This holiday celebration features dancing toys, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes and waltzing flowers. The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are a highlight of Clara’s adventure – FBT’s spectacular guest artists will dance this bravura pas de deux:

Yuan Yuan Tan (San Francisco Ballet), Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet), Sara Mearns (New York City Ballet), and Irina Dvorovenko (former American Ballet Theatre Principal) will each grace the stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy, joined by their handsome Cavaliers, Tiit Helimets (San Francisco Ballet), Vitor Luiz (San Francisco Ballet), Jared Angle (New York City Ballet), and Maxim Beloserkovsky (former American Ballet Theatre Principal).

Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker is made even more magical with sets and costumes by Simon Pastukh and Galina Solovyeva.

Esteemed Guest Artists And Performance Dates:

Yuan Yuan Tan – San Francisco Ballet

Tiit Helimets – San Francisco Ballet

Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2016 @ 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Maria Kochetkova – San Francisco Ballet

Vitor Luiz – San Francisco Ballet

Friday, December 16, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Saturday, December 17, 2016 @ 2:00 PM

Sara Mearns – New York City Ballet

Jared Angle – New York City Ballet

Saturday, December 17, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Sunday, December 18, 2016 @ 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 18, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Irina Dvorovenko – Former American Ballet Theatre Principal

Maxim Beloserkovsky – Former American Ballet Theatre Principal

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Friday, December 23, 2016 @ 1:00 PM

Friday, December 23, 2016 @ 6:00 PM

Saturday, December 24, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Please note: Guest artists may be subject to change


For Calendar Section

Who: Festival Ballet Theatre

What: The Nutcracker

When: Saturday, December 10 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Sunday, December 11 at 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Friday, December 16 at 7:00pm

Saturday, December 17 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Sunday, December 18 at 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Tuesday, December 20 at 6:00pm

Wednesday, December 21 at 6:00pm

Thursday, December 22 at 6:00pm

Friday, December 23 at 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Saturday, December 24 at 11:00am

Tickets: $42 -$55 and can be purchased at or by calling 949.854.4646 x1.

Related Events

Nutcracker Luncheon and Sugar Plum Tea

Sunday, December 4th at 11:00 am

Where: Waterfront Hilton Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California.

For information on tickets and events around The Nutcracker, please visit

About Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT)

Festival Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla. Its mission is to enrich Orange County’s artistic and economic vitality, to inspire love and appreciation for dance, and to invigorate ballet by:

• Presenting a season of exhilarating classical and contemporary performances,

• Providing a nurturing environment for dancers and choreographers,

• Offering stimulating educational outreach programs.

For more information, visit

About Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla has contributed to the Orange County community for more than 30 years by presenting excellence in dance performance through Festival Ballet Theatre and providing top-tier classical ballet training at Southland Ballet Academy.

During her professional dancing career, Ms. Rizkalla graced the stage in leading roles in well-known classical ballets as well as contemporary pieces. She had the privilege of working under the direction of world-renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky and Serge Lifar. As a young dancer, Ms. Rizkalla trained in the Russian Vaganova method and studied with ballet masters of the Bolshoi and the Kirov. As the culmination of her training, Ms. Rizkalla completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ballet Pedagogy. She established Southland Ballet Academy in 1983 and debuted Festival Ballet Theatre in 1988. In addition to teaching and directing, Ms. Rizkalla was a faculty member of several area institutions, including Goldenwest College and the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts.

Many arts organizations have recognized her service. The Orange County Music and Arts Administrators and Orange County Performing Arts Center jointly named her the Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award for Secondary Dance (2003); Youth America Grand Prix awarded Ms. Rizkalla Outstanding Teacher accolades (2002, 2004, 2005, and 2012); and Arts Orange County recognized Ms. Rizkalla with the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award (2014).

Ms. Rizkalla has been honored to impact the lives of hundreds of students and their families through her teaching. She is proud to be a dedicated educator, an energetic promoter of the arts, and an active participant in the cultural life of her community.

Media Contact:

Tracy Sellers

Festival Ballet Theatre

Phone: (714) 309-1280