Aberdeen youngsters don their dancing pumps for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with highly acclaimed US ballet duo

Left to Right: Amercian ballet stars Aaron Smyth and Matisse Love

A PAIR of talented American dance professionals will arrive in the north-east this week to join forces with Aberdeen Academy of Performing Arts (AAPA) students for a production of festive favourite The Nutcracker.

Local ballet dancers, aged between four and 18 from the granite city’s dance, acting and musical theatre school, are set to benefit from the skills and experience of Los Angeles-based Matisse Love and Aaron Smyth, former Royal ballet and Joffrey ballet artist.

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The duo will embark on a series of masterclasses with youngsters from the dance school and deliver two performances together at the Tivoli Theatre on Saturday November 4 – the first joint ballet production with professionals for AAPA since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Rachel Mearns, principal and owner/director at AAPA, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we can start our ballet productions again, and when Matisse asked us in August to get involved, we jumped at the chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our young dancers and they’ve worked so hard in rehearsals over the past six weeks. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

AAPA student Ella Mccaffrey, 18, said: “I’m very excited to be performing in The Nutcracker. As the oldest student in the production, I’ve been given the part of the Mouse Queen and I’m loving this challenging role. I’m especially looking forward to dancing with Aaron in the battle with the soldiers and mice.”

Matisse, who trained at Bolshoi ballet and is a former principal soloist with the Russian state ballet theatre, said: “I’m so looking forward to dancing The Nutcracker with Rachel’s amazing ballet school. I met her and all the lovely AAPA dancers while I was living in Russia. Now we have the amazing opportunity to come and share the stage with this incredible ballet academy, filled with young dancers who share such a joy to perform. I’m so grateful to get to experience this love for dance with them once again.”

Rachel added: “We have a matinee and an evening show. It lasts around an hour in two halves, which is ideal for young, aspiring ballet dancers to come and watch. It’s a great opportunity to support local talent at a local venue – and witness the spectacular moves of some international dance stars into the bargain.”

The AAPA performance of The Nutcracker featuring Matisse Love and Aaron Smyth takes place on Saturday 4th November at 2.30pm and 7pm. 

Tickets are available from www.aberdeenperformingarts.com 

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