Inspirational Living: The Nutcracker Reimagined | A Collaboration with the New York City Ballet

4 December 2020 • 2:00 PM EST • New York

J oin us this holiday season for a virtual premiere of an original performance created in collaboration with New York City Ballet. In celebration of Sotheby’s Festival of Wonder, the dancers are styled with magnificent jewels and watches from the upcoming auctions as they move through Sotheby’s art-filled galleries. Featuring music from The Nutcracker, original choreography by NYCB soloist Peter Walker, and an introduction by artistic director Jonathan Stafford and Sotheby's Frank Everett, this imaginative performance combines art and dance to bring a bit of holiday magic to viewers around the world. The virtual performance is presented in partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Jonathan Stafford at One World Observatory in New York City. Photo credit Christopher Lane

Jonathan Stafford, NYCB Artistic Director

Jonathan Stafford is the Artistic Director of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. A former NYCB Principal Dancer, he retired from performing in May 2014 and was named one of NYCB’s Ballet Masters. In December 2017, he was appointed to lead NYCB’s interim artistic team and in February 2019, he was named Artistic Director of NYCB and SAB.

During his performing career with NYCB, Stafford performed an extensive repertory of leading roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Christopher Wheeldon, and also originated featured roles in works by Mauro Bigonzetti and Alexei Ratmansky. As an educator, Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty beginning in 2006 and joined the School’s permanent faculty in 2007. In 2015, he was named SAB’s first-ever Professional Placement Manager, a role created to assist students with the transition into their professional careers. Stafford also spearheaded a mentorship program which partners current NYCB dancers with new apprentices from SAB to help guide them through their first year with the Company. He graduated summa cum laude from the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies with a B.A. in Organizational Leadership.

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Stafford studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet before first entering SAB in the summer of 1996. Named an NYCB apprentice in October 1998, Stafford joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of Soloist in March of 2006 and became a Principal Dancer in May 2007.

Paul Kolnik/Paul Kolnik

Peter Walker, NYCB Soloist

Peter Walker is from Fort Myers, Florida, where he began his early dance training at age eight with teacher Judy Murray in tap dance and the next year at the Gulfshore Ballet with Melinda Roy. Mr. Walker began studying at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of the New York City Ballet, during the 2006 and 2007 summer courses and enrolled as a full-time student in the winter of 2007.

In the spring of 2011, Mr. Walker became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in Fall 2012.

He was promoted to soloist in October 2018.

Mr. Walker’s first work for the Company, ten in seven, premiered at NYCB’s Fall 2016 Gala. His second work, dance odyssey, premiered in Winter 2018.

Portrait © Erin Baiano

Sebastian Villarini-Velez, NYCB Soloist

Sebastian Villarini-Velez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Before moving to the United States he trained with Rodney Rivera, Joaquin Banegas, and Maria Carrera, and also studied dance at the School for the Performing Arts in Puerto Rico with teachers including Yolanda Muñoz and Jose Rodriguez. In 2007, he attended the Miami City Ballet School summer course under the direction of NYCB alumnus Edward Villella in Miami, Florida and later the Pacific Northwest Ballet School summer program in 2011 under the direction of NYCB alumus Peter Boal in Seattle, Washington.

Mr. Villarini-Velez began studying at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, during the 2008 summer course, which he attended again during the summer of 2010 before enrolling as a student that fall.

In August 2012, Mr. Villarini-Velez became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in August 2013.

He was promoted to soloist in October 2018.

Portrait © Erin Baiano

India Bradley, NYCB Corps de Ballet

India Bradley is a member of New York City Ballet’s Corps de Ballet. She was born in Detroit, Michigan and began her dance training at the age of four at The Link School of the Arts in Troy, Michigan. At the age of eleven, she attended the Academy of Russian Classical Ballet in Novi, Michigan, under the direction of Sergey Rayevitskey.

Ms. Bradley attended the summer program at Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2012, and entered DTH’s Professional Training Program under the direction of Andrea Long that fall.

She attended the 2014 summer session at the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school, and enrolled as a full-time student later that year.

Ms. Bradley was named an apprentice in August 2017 and joined the Company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in August 2018. As an apprentice, she performed a featured role in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.

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