Way back in the 1970s and 1980s I was a student of ballet. I took classes at several studios around Oakland. Eventually, I went on tour a couple of times as a ballet dancer. My first tour was a 5-state sweep of the west in Giselle (I was also the assistant technician for the tour and got paid a little extra for agreeing to be one of the drivers of the station wagons in which we gypsies covered the western states). My second tour was with a small company in The Nutcracker (on this tour we rode on a bus.) Doing The Nutcracker was a real treat for me, and to this day I can’t keep my feet still when I hear Tchaikowsky’s music.
The Oakland Ballet company hit a bit of a rough patch a while back. Ronn Guidi founded the company in 1965. In 1999 (during a performance of The Nutcracker) he retired. The company survived for a while, folded in 2006. In December 2006 Guidi staged a production of The Nutcracker and relaunched the Oakland Ballet in October of 2007. Guidi Resigned again in April of 2009 and the ballet is now being guided by Former dancers Michael Lowe and Jenna McClintock. The Oakland Ballet’s new production of The Nutcracker is a version choreographed by long time Bay Area dance luminary, Carlos Carvajal.
You can catch performances this week at the Paramount Theatre. Thursday, Saturday (two performances) and Sunday. (see the company’s website for specific times.)