Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Swan Princess Christmas and The Los Angeles Ballet Unite: a fairytale review and Giveaway

there are moments in our lives when our senses become a conduit for time travel,
when you find yourself transported back to a familiar age and/or place
perhaps its ignited by the aroma of a particular blend of spices
or the feel of cold water passing by your sand buried feet

for me, it was a combination of the senses that at once transported me to my youth.
the fantastical music of the “Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker tiptoeing into my ears 
married with my eyes being captivated by the graceful motions of the delicate ballerina as she floated magically across the floor
i was once more that wide-eyed little girl with dreams of becoming a ballerina
and then just for a moment i became ageless, 
the hopeful yearnings of my young self meeting the grown-up me, an appreciative advocate for those artists who can do what I cannot

I was privileged to represent Kailani and An Island Life at a lovely intimate event,
a behind-the-scenes preview of The Nutcracker performed by The Los Angeles Ballet directed by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary.  This preview was in conjunction with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and their November 6th DVD release of The Swan Princess Christmas, the fourth installment in the popular Swan Princess franchise that began in 1994.  I remember watching The Swan Princess with my younger siblings, wondering if Princess Odette would forever remain a swan.  Because this animated musical is based on the ballet Swan Lake, it was quite fitting for these two ventures to unite.

 As a long time mother of boys, I have experienced many firsts with them:  first football game, first reptile birthday party, first ER visit...
I do have to say that I am enjoying most of the firsts that are coming along with having a little girl with much delight, our first ballet has charmed its way up on the list.  Felicity was a fan of the ballet from the moment a tutu was presented to her as part of her wardrobe.  My sister Vanessa, sister-in-law Kelli, and my darling nieces Savannah and Juliet joined our freeway maze adventure in pursuit of the ballet. 

{sister Vanessa, Briana, sister-in-law Kelli, niece Savannah, daughter Felicity, and niece Juliet}                                           
We were greeted in a friendly manner by Nicole of MPRM Communications and made our way to the rehearsal studio filled with busy dancers making last minute preparations both to the scenery and their limber bodies.  Having attended traditional ballet performances in which the set, the costumes, and the dancers are all in place before the curtain is raised, I was very intrigued as I watched the unrehearsed scene of preparations in front of me.  It was apparent that the members of this ballet company were akin to family.  Smiles, laughter, as well as assistance in wardrobe needs and counting out their steps could be seen as the “Overture” of The Nutcracker played in the background.

Before the performance we were addressed by Sheldon Young, a producer of the Swan Princess series.  His enthusiasm for this timeless musical Christmas tale, The Swan Princess Christmas, was endearing.  He told of the new adventure of Princess Odette, Prince Derek, and all of their woodland friends, as well as the return of the villain Rothbart as the Ghost of Christmas.  He raved about the stunning music in this film, featuring a premier singer, the twelve year old “America’s Got Talent” finalist Anna Graceman.  

We were then addressed by the founder and artist director of The Los Angles Ballet
Thordal Christensen.  He introduced his young company and their upcoming holiday season of performances of the beloved classic The Nutcracker at five venues surrounding the Los Angeles area.  They are in their seventh year and have experienced beautiful success.  The Nutcracker involves combining various groups of performers into one large scene.  He relayed the story of a young dreamy Clara who, at her Christmas party, receives a nutcracker as a gift from her ‘crazy’ uncle.  Clara later falls asleep and dreams of a land where mice and dolls come to life, including the nutcracker.  Christensen invited us all to come to the performance to learn of the surprise ending.  Make sure to check out their holiday schedule by visiting www.losangelesballet.org 

{Thordal Chirstensen, director of the Los Angeles Ballet, Cyndee Ewing, Sony Pictures Marketing Manager, and Sheldon Young, producer of The Swan Princess Christmas}

The dancing commenced with the studio floor filling with dancers of varying ages, all portraying the excitement of the holiday party.  Young children were joyful, opened presents, and danced hand in hand across the floor.  We had captured front row seats which placed us no more than a few feet from the performers, at moments I tucked in my feet for fear of tripping one.  During the performance I continued to look over at my darling daughter and her sweet cousins, all of the ages under 6, and saw their faces fixated on the dancers and their movements.  I was pleasantly surprised how their attention had been captured by the ballet.  We were all, adults included, riveted by the grace and strength of all the performers: Clara, Uncle Drosselmeyer, the harlequin and columbine dolls, the Russian, and of course the Sugar Plum Fairy.  I felt privileged to be there witnessing this timeless classic with my little girl, happy to pass on the love of this holiday tradition.

What are your holiday traditions that you have passed on to your children?

At the conclusion of the abbreviated performance, we were able to greet and thank some of the incredible dancers.  The girls were rather demure upon meeting the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy, who graciously agreed to a few photos.  Felicity tried her hand at a few twirls, gazing at herself in the spanning mirror, but the highlight of the after party was the famed ballet bar.  After enjoying some sprinkle and crown icing topped cupcakes and punch from the table highlighting the debuting DVD The Swan Princess Christmas, the girls took to the bar with delight.  Hanging, pointing toes, raising legs, swinging, and all other sorts of tricks one could perform being shorter than the height of the bar. 

At the request of Sheldon Young, all of the attendant children gathered around him and his computer to watch some ‘smackers’, a film term introduced to me during this event.  Smackers are utilized during computer-generated animated features.  The director acts out every part of every scene himself which is later used to generate the animated character.  This particular smacker shown to the children had the director crawling around on the floor as a sneaky cat.  

Mr. Young continued his enthusiasm for the release of the DVD The Swan Princess Christmas on November 6th which features the premier voice of Anna Graceman, a “America’s Got Talent” finalist.  The DVD includes bonus features of sing-a-longs, storybook read-a-long, and a music video.  Take a moment to watch this darling trailer of the movie below and witness for yourself the immediate effect of the music on propelling you into the holiday spirit:

We will be pleased to offer you an opportunity to win a copy of this enchanting musical holiday treat from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Swan Princess Christmas, for your own family.  


For TWO LUCKY WINNERS, you will each win a copy of the newly released DVD, hopefully in time for Christmas for your littles.  You have 10 ways to earn entries into the giveaway using the nifty 'Rafflecopter' giveaway form seen below:

Good luck and may your upcoming holiday season be filled with joyous traditions full of laughter and peace.

*This giveaway will close at midnight on Tuesday December 18th PST
*This giveaway is open to US residents only.
*The winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to respond to the winner notification email. After 48 hours another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Briana is the author of Sweet Dreams are Made of These, blogging the dish on mommyhood for four young active children {3 busy boys and 1 ‘baby’ girl who has captured them all}, the essential part creativity plays in finding joy in each day, and the role faith plays in her family’s adjustment to her husband’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and her father’s recent passing from cancer.

This is not a compensated post. This post was written for MPRM Communications who invited me to the event and who provided me with the complimentary item for giveaway.


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