Avichai Scher is a freelance journalist in New York City who's written for The New York Times, HuffPost, The Daily Beast and NBC News. He was a dancer and choreographer for 10 years, including dancing with Joffrey Ballet, choreographing for Ballet West and Texas Ballet Theater and running his own company, Avi Scher & Dancers, for four years. In 2005, he was a Dance Magazine "top 25 to watch" for his choreography.
Snow Scene in Val Caniparoli's The Nutcracker for Louisville Ballet. Photography by Wade Bell
Choreographer Val Caniparoli started his ballet career by performing in Lew Christensen's The Nutcracker with San Francisco Ballet in 1971. Today, he still performs with SFB as Drosselmeir, in the company's current version by Helgi Tomasson.
It takes Caniparoli a lot of concentration to stick to the choreography.
"I have the four versions that I choreographed of the role in my head, plus the original I danced for years by Lew," he says. "That's a lot of versions to keep straight."