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Yuri Possokhov at work on his new Nutcracker for Atlanta Ballet. Photo by Kim Kenney, Courtesy Atlanta Ballet

The Nutcracker is synonymous with American ballet. So when Gennadi Nedvigin took the helm at Atlanta Ballet in 2016, a new version of the holiday classic was one of his top priorities. This month, evidence of two years' worth of changes will appear when the company unwraps its latest version at Atlanta's Fox Theatre Dec. 8–24. Choreographed by Yuri Possokhov and produced on a larger-than-ever scale for Atlanta, the new ballet represents Nedvigin's big ambitions.

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Yuri Possokhov rehearsing his 2015 creation for the Bolshoi, A Hero of Our Time. Photo by Quinn Wharton.

Back in July, the Bolshoi Ballet grabbed international headlines after canceling the scheduled premiere of a new full-length ballet just three days before opening night. The ballet was Nureyev, and, as it was centered on the life of an openly gay male dancer who defected from the Soviet Union, it was widely speculated that the decision was an act of censorship.

Further theories of political motivations arose as Kirill Serebrennikov, the project's already-controversial director, was being questioned in connection with an embezzlement investigation. But according to the Bolshoi, the ballet was pulled due to it simply not being ready, and was not canceled but postponed; a tentative premiere was set for May 2018.

But it looks like Russian audiences will be getting to see the new ballet far sooner than they might have hoped.

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Rudolf Nureyev, 1976. Photo by Marcel Fugère, Courtesy DM Archives.

As Wendy Perron wrote in our July issue, "Any new work coming from the Bolshoi Ballet is big news." So naturally, the news that the premiere of its highly anticipated new ballet will not happen as scheduled is even bigger. The Bolshoi announced on its website Saturday that performances of Nureyev, set to begin tomorrow (Tuesday, July 11) in Moscow, will be replaced with Don Quixote. Today, the theatre held a press conference at which it was clarified that the ballet had not been canceled, but postponed until May 2018. The official reason given: The ballet is not yet ready.

The announcement appeared on the Bolshoi website Saturday.

Of course, not everyone is buying it.

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