Three classic storybooks come to life in magical ballet productions by Orange County’s Festival Ballet Theatre.

Fountain Valley, Calif., June 7, 2016 — Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), Orange County’s professional ballet company, has announced its 2016-17 Storybook Series. It will begin with Secret Garden on October 15 & 16followed by The Nutcracker from December 10 to 24, and Don Quixote on March 25 & 26.  All of the performances will take place at Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.

Artistic Director of Festival Ballet Theatre, Salwa Rizkalla, commented: “We look forward to presenting three full-length productions in a season that offers a versatile program of classical and contemporary repertoire. The dramatic choreography of Los Angeles native Josie Walsh in Secret Garden will inject a modern element into this year’s season. Our version of the perennial family favorite, The Nutcracker, offers audiences a visually striking performance designed to evoke a holiday mood. The beloved dreamer at the center of the classic Don Quixote lends a comical note to a production full of old-world charm.

Festival Ballet Theatre: Storybook Season Series

The Secret Garden is a moving and poignant ballet for the whole family! A restoration of a garden and revival of the spirit, The Secret Garden is a story of loss, dreams, hope and transformation.  Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel, The Secret Garden is brought to life on stage through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge choreography by Josie Walsh, an original cinematic score by Paul Rivera Jr., and stunning multi-media scenic design by David Bazemore.

Create holiday memories for your family by sharing the magic of the cherished classic, The Nutcracker. 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.

Experience the fiery gypsy spirit and passion of FBT’s production of Don QuixoteJoin the gallant Don Quixote on his knightly quests across old-world Spain in Festival Ballet Theatre’s rendition of this beloved ballet, based on the novel by Miguel Cervantes. Celebrate the spirit of adventure with the flavors and rhythms of 17th – century Spain, captured elegantly in Ludwig Minkus’ memorable score. A must-see for any ballet lover, this full-length, traditional production features stunning guest artists in the lead roles, professional company dancers and a boisterous cast of many.
Single Tickets

Individual tickets for Festival Ballet Theatre 2016/17 Season are on sale now.

The Secret Garden
Saturday, October 15 at 7pm and Sunday, October 16 at 2pm
Tickets: $39-$45


The Nutcracker
Saturday, December 10 at 2pm; 7pm
Sunday, December 11 at 1pm; 6pm
Friday, December 16 at 7pm
Saturday, December 17 at 2pm; 7pm
Sunday, December 18 at 1pm; 6pm
Tuesday, December 20 at 6pm
Wednesday, December 21 at 6pm
Thursday, December 22 at 6pm
Friday, December 23 at 1pm; 6pm
Saturday, December 24 at 11am

Tickets: $42-$55

Don Quixote

Saturday, March 25 at 7pm and Sunday, March 26 at 2pm
Tickets: $42-$55


About Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT)

Festival Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla. It is dedicated to presenting works that exemplify the artistry of classical and contemporary ballet, offering cultural awareness of dance through educational programs, and nurturing a creative environment for choreographers and some of Orange County’s most talented dancers.


About Salwa Rizkalla

Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla has served the Orange County community for over 30 years by presenting excellence in dance performance through the nonprofit 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.

Ms. Rizkalla’s contributions have been recognized by many local organizations:  she was named Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award for Secondary Dance (2003); Youth America Grand Prix Outstanding Teacher from 2002-2015, and Arts Orange County’s winner of the the Helena Modjeska Lifetime Achievement 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.

Elizabeth Farmen

Festival Ballet Theatre
9527 Garfield Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Phone: 714.962.5440