IN the Arts: Holidays 2012

Ballet Apetrei's "Nutcracker." Photo courtesy Fielding Photography.

Visions of sugarplums swirl around the heads of all northshore children as we anticipate the coming holidays! Caroling, The Nutcracker ballet, plays, symphonies, choirs, Teddy Bear teas, exhibits of art and pretty, pretty pottery, as well as the celebration of a local music legend, await our adventuresome souls.

Nutcrackers!

Growing in popularity year after year, The Nutcracker ballet was first performed in Russia in 1892. A young girl dreams as she falls asleep on Christmas Eve cradling a special gift, a nutcracker decorated as a toy soldier. In her dream, everything comes to life as the Mouse King battles toy soldiers, the nutcracker turns into a prince and…we don’t want any spoilers now, do we?

The Nutcracker was adapted from a German story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Tchaikovsky, the celebrated Russian composer, wrote the score for the ballet. Not an immediate sensation, it wasn’t performed in its entirety in the United States until Christmas Eve 1944 in San Francisco.

It’s gone on to become an American holiday tradition, introducing generations of children to the world of ballet. The Nutcracker is performed every year across the country by the youngest students of the smallest of small-town ballet schools to the most celebrated international dancers of the most renowned metropolitan dance companies.

Ballet Apetrei's "Nutcracker." Photo courtesy Fielding Photography.

Ballet Apetrei’s “Nutcracker.” Photo courtesy Fielding Photography.

At home, we have annual performances by Ballet Apetrei (their 24th year of performances) at St. Joseph Abbey’s Bennett Hall in Covington. In Slidell and on the southshore, it will be Delta Festival Ballet’s 32nd year performing the classic for local audiences; the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will again perform Tchaikovsky’s score for performances at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell and later in December at Dixon Hall on the Tulane University campus. Clara, the Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairy will grace Columbia Theatre in Hammond as the Hammond Ballet Company performs The Nutcracker as well.

Ballet Apetrei at Bennett Hall, St. Joseph Abbey: Fri., Nov. 30, student showing at 10 a.m.; Sat., Dec. 1, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m. Student show tickets $8 per student; on Dec. 1 and 2, $25 for reserved seating, $15 for general admission. Available at Pineapple Gallery, 829 Asbury Dr. in Mandeville and online at Eventbrite.com. Call Ballet Apetrei for more information, (985) 624-3622.

Delta Festival Ballet at the Northshore Harbor Center, Slidell: Sat., Dec. 1, at 4 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $50 and are available at LPOmusic.com or by calling (504) 523-6530.

Delta Festival Ballet at Dixon Hall on the Tulane University campus: Fri., Dec. 21, at 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. Visit deltafestivalballet.com or LPOmusic.com for more information on the Dixon Hall performances.

The Hammond Ballet Company’s performances will be Dec. 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond. Tickets are available through the theatre’s box office, 220 E. Thomas St. in Hammond or by calling (985) 543-4371.

Newcomb Pottery Exhibit

One of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, the architectural landmark Madame John’s Legacy, hosts its first major exhibit since Katrina, spotlighting the Louisiana State Museum’s extensive collection of world-renowned Newcomb College art pottery. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Newcomb pottery exhibit on display through September 2012. Photo courtesy Louisiana State Museum.

Newcomb pottery exhibit on display through September 2012. Photo courtesy Louisiana State Museum.

The Palm, the Pine, and the Cypress: Newcomb Pottery of New Orleans” will run through September 2013. Visitors can enjoy more than 50 examples of the highly collectible decorative ceramics produced by the college between 1894 and 1940, when the program ended.

“Inspired by Louisiana’s native flora, Newcomb’s female artists created some of the most distinctive expressions of the Arts and Crafts movement in America while advancing the role of women in American society,” says Katie Burlison, the museum’s curator of decorative arts. “This exhibition explores their achievements from aesthetic and social history perspectives.”

Madame John’s Legacy is located at 632 Dumaine St. in New Orleans; open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed Mondays and state holidays. (504) 568-6968.

 The Old and the New

Both old and new Christmas story traditions hit the stage this season on both sides of the lake. The Southern Rep puts on the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, a musical adaptation starring local personality John “Spud” McConnell as Scrooge.

Performances Nov. 23 through Dec. 16 at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St. in New Orleans. Call (504) 522-6545 or visit southernrep.com for show times and tickets.

On the northshore, watch in wonder as young Ralphie Parker goes on a holiday quest for the one, true “Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.” Beset by bullies, a frozen flagpole and a scary department store Santa, will Ralphie find success without shooting out an eye? Find out at the Slidell Little Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story.

A Christmas Story runs Nov. 23 through Dec. 9. For reservations, call (985) 641-0324, or go to slidelllittletheatre.org. The theatre is located at 2024 Nellie Dr.

Ronnie Kole

Musician and philanthropist Ronnie Kole will be honored as he’s inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. On Sunday, Nov. 4, the City of Slidell and the LMHOF will present “Celebrate the Legend: Ronnie Kole,” a Sunday brunch and ceremony to welcome Ronnie into the Hall of Fame.

1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Slidell Municipal Auditorium at 2056 Second St. Tickets are $40 and are available at lmhof.org.

Holiday Teas

A special way to share holiday joy with your kids or grandkids is to attend any of the wonderful holiday teas. Santa and his helpers are on hand for tea and snacks in elegant surroundings at the English Tea Room in Covington and at the Royal Sonesta, Monteleone and Roosevelt hotels in New Orleans.

English Tea Room Teddy Bear High Tea

Santa will be paying a visit to Covington on Dec. 9 at the English Tea Room, a Britannic oasis on oak-lined East Rutland Street.

Tea begins at 2 p.m. Call (985) 898-3988 for reservations.

 The Roosevelt New Orleans’ Teddy Bear Teas

Children will walk with wonder through the Roosevelt’s grand lobby, transformed into a canopy of white birch branches and thousands of twinkling lights as they make their way to the ballroom for the Teddy Bear Tea. A family favorite during the holidays, guests and their children enjoy a special tea party featuring children’s menu items, with adult beverage and menu items available. Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and helpers will be on hand, and each child receives a special stuffed Teddy Bear and photo with Santa.

Saturdays and Sundays during December, 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 21-23; seatings at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (1 p.m. only on Dec. 2; 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. only on Dec. 1 and 21). Children under 3, free; ages 4-11, $39 ($54 VIP seating); ages 11 and up, $59 ($74 VIP seating). Call the Roosevelt’s holiday line for reservations, (504) 335-3129.

Monte The Lion’s Children’s Holiday Party

There will be lots of treats for kids and grown-ups, too, at the Hotel Monteleone’s holiday celebration. Take pictures with Santa and meet Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, the trumpeters and the elves. Monte the Lion will entertain you and give every child a souvenir Monte stuffed animal.

Sat., Dec. 15, seatings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Children, $40; adults, $55. Call (504) 681-4452 or visit hotelmonteleone.com/monte for reservations.

Royal Teddy Bear Tea

The Royal Sonesta Hotel and your hosts Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Sugarplum Fairy, Rudolph and the Royal Teddy Bear, welcome everyone for Royal Teddy Bear Teas.

Dec. 9, 14-16 and 20-23. Seatings at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Children, $42-$58; adults, $53-$68. Call (504) 553-2328 for reservations.

Caroling in the Square

Join in a tradition that’s been going strong for more than 60 years! Caroling in Jackson Square is sponsored annually by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré. Carolers are given souvenir song books and candles for the event. Sun., Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

To keep Caroling in Jackson Square a free event, Patio Planters holds several fund-raising events, including a White Elephant Sale and auction on Nov. 10 and the Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 16 in the afternoon before caroling begins. Five beautiful and festively decorated French Quarter homes open their doors to visitors. The Nov. 10 sale begins at 10 a.m. in the school parking lot at the corner of St. Phillip and Royal streets; the auction is at noon. Holiday Home Tour times are 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at Creole Delicacies, 523 St. Ann St. in the Pontalba Buildings on Jackson Square.

CHRISTMAS AND MORE ON THE NORTHSHORE

There’s singing and symphony to bring in the holidays at St. Timothy on the Northshore United Methodist Church.

On Dec. 9, join the St. Timothy Choir and special guest performers for “Christmas on the Northshore.” Classics, carols and contemporary pieces will be performed, with shows at 3 and 7 p.m.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra arrives at St. Timothy on Dec. 14 for a special performance of classical selections, “A Baroque Christmas,” at 7:30 p.m.

St. Timothy on the Northshore UMC is at 335 Asbury Dr. in Mandeville. “Christmas on the Northshore” is a free event, call (985) 626-3307 for more information. Tickets for “A Baroque Christmas” are $20-$37 and are available at LPOmusic.com.

Filed under: Arts, Children's Activities, Front Page Feature, November-December 2012

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