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


Fountain Valley, CA | (October 31, 2017) — Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), Orange County’s resident professional ballet company, will present the family favorite production of The Nutcracker, December 9 – 24, 2017 at Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.

Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly, breathtaking production features 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, dancing toys, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, waltzing flowers 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.

The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are a highlight of Clara’s adventure – FBT’s spectacular guest artists. The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by: Frances Chung (San Francisco Ballet), Irina Dvorovenko (former American Ballet Theatre Principal), Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet), Tiler Peck (New York City Ballet) and Beckanne Sisk (Ballet West). The handsome Cavalier will be danced by: Maxim Beloserkovsky (former American Ballet Theatre Principal), Fabrice Calmels (Joffrey Ballet), Gonzalo Garcia (New York City Ballet) and Vitor Luiz (San Francisco Ballet).

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 Performing Dates:

Beckanne Sisk, Ballet West

Fabrice Calmels, Joffrey Ballet

Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 9, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 6:00 PM


Tara Ghassemieh, Festival Ballet Theatre

Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet

Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 7:00 PM


Frances Chung, San Francisco Ballet

Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet

Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 7:00 PM


Maria Kochetkova, San Francisco Ballet

Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet

Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 6:00 PM


Irina Dvorovenko, Former American Ballet Theatre Principal

Maxim Beloserkovsky, Former American Ballet Theatre Principal

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Thursday, December 21, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Friday, December 22, 2017 @ 7:00 PM


Tiler Peck, New York City Ballet

Gonzalo Garcia, New York City Ballet

Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 2:00 PM

Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Sunday, December 24, 2017 @ 11:00 AM


Please note: Guest Artists may be subject to change


Festival Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker

December 9-24

Tickets: $42-$55


Irvine Barclay Theatre

4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646


Nutcracker Tea Party

This year we will be offering a very special seasonal treat; The Nutcracker Tea Party, a pre-show event before select performances. Guests will have an opportunity to enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara herself. The young star will tell the story of the Nutcracker and talk to her guests about the ballet and her magical adventure. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too! Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest are included in the Nutcracker Tea Party ticket price.


Related Events

Nutcracker Luncheon Fundraiser

Sunday, December 3rd at 11:00 am

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

Nutcracker Outreach Events

Throughout November and December, Festival Ballet Theatre will be collaborating to present community Nutcracker holiday events with the following organizations:

Arts Teach
Dawson Cole, Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club
Newport Beach Library
Pacific Symphony Orchestra
Pretend City
SOCO and the OC Mix
The District at Tustin Legacy


About Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT)

Festival Ballet Theatre is Orange County’s premier, accomplished professional ballet company. Our 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.

With reverence for classic masterpieces and a focus on developing future tours de force, Festival Ballet Theater is committed to presenting the best of dance, enriching lives, and developing a new generation of audiences and artists.

Festival Ballet Theatre is a well-established nonprofit arts organization founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla. Boasting a roster of impressive, up-and-coming southern California talent, the company’s productions spotlight internationally acclaimed guest artists from prestigious companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.

Aspiring to the peak of artistic excellence for nearly three decades, Festival Ballet Theatre at once attracts the best in professional dance to its home base while exporting its impeccably trained dancers as artistic ambassadors to the nation. Arts Orange County named Festival Ballet Theatre Outstanding Arts Organization of the Year in 2001.

For more information, please 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, 2012 and 2017); 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.


Elizabeth Farmen
Tracy Sellers

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