Curtain Up: From ‘Nutcracker’ to ‘Riverdance’ at Segerstrom Center

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American Ballet Theater’s production of “The Nutcracker” recently completed a successful run at Segerstrom Center, and two young Newport Beach dancers were in the cast.

Newport Beach residents Miranda Watson and Ava McLarand, both 13 and students at the American Ballet Theater William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center, were selected to perform in “The Nutcracker.”

The ABT Gillespie School follows ABT’s National Training Curriculum, a ballet program designed specifically for children ages 3 through 14 years of age. This unique ballet curriculum, divided by age, promotes discipline and creativity, encouraging students to reach their highest potential while building a safe and solid foundation in technique.

Congratulations to both dancers—it’s an experience they’ll carry with them as they prepare to embark on dance careers.



Hard to believe that “Riverdance,” the international theatrical phenomenon that propelled Irish dance into the world’s spotlight, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Over the past two decades, “Riverdance” has played over 11,000 performances and has been seen by more than 25 million people in over 467 venues worldwide, throughout 46 countries across 6 continents.

The show has travelled 700,000 miles (or to the moon and back, and back again) and played to a global television audience of 300 billion people.

Along the way, there have been 2,000 Irish dancers, 20,000 dance shoes used, 15,000 costumes worn, and even 61 marriages between company members.

Local audiences can experience “Riverdance” when the 20th anniversary production comes to Segerstrom Center Jan. 1-3. It’s the fifth time “Riverdance” has come to Costa Mesa.

“Riverdance—the 20th Anniversary World Tour features new costumes, new lighting, new projections and the addition of a new number, “Anna Livia,” featuring the female members of the Irish dance troupe in an acapella hard-shoe number.

“The success of Riverdance across the whole world has gone beyond our wildest dreams,” said producer Moya Doherty. “The fact that the show continues to draw and excite audiences is a tribute to every dancer, singer, musician, staff and crew member who have dedicated themselves to the show. This 20th Anniversary Tour is a thank you to our audiences and a celebration of what has been an incredible journey across two decades.”

For those unfamiliar with “Riverdance,” the show is billed as “an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures.”

The show broke box office records during its world premiere run in Dublin in early 1995. When the show transferred to London in June of that year, the original 10 performances increased to 151. This was followed by many hears of non-stop touring. 

For tickets, visit

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