Special Guest Performances:
On Saturday evening, December 14 and Sunday afternoon, December 15, the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be performed by Maria Kochetkova, principal with San Francisco Ballet, and the Prince will be performed by Joaquin De Luz, principal with the New York City Ballet.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Maria Kochetkova trained at the Bolshoi School in Moscow and danced with The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, and as a guest artist with Tokyo Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg before joining San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 2007. Kochetkova's honors include gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions in Korea and Italy in 2005; a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition of Luxembourg in 2003; a silver medal and the jury prize at the Varna International Ballet Competition in 2002; a silver medal at the Prix de Lausanne that same year; and a bronze medal at Moscow International Competition in 2001. In 2013, Kochetkova was appointed Herbert Family Principal Dancer.
Joaquin De Luz was born in Madrid and received his training at the Victor Ullate School of Ballet. In 1996, he joined the Pennsylvania Ballet as a soloist. De Luz joined the American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 1997 and was promoted to soloist in 1998. He joined New York City Ballet as a soloist in 2003, and in January 2005 he was promoted to the rank of principal dancer. In March 1996, De Luz won the Gold Medal at the Second Nureyev International Ballet Competition in Budapest, Hungary. In February 1997, De Luz was awarded the Rising Star prize by Seven Arts Magazine in Philadelphia. He represented Spain at the Expo '98 in Lisbon, dancing in the gala Stars of Spanish Ballet. Most recently, De Luz was awarded the Benois de la Danse award in 2009 for best male performance of the year for his role in Prodigal Son. He also toured with Kings of the Dance in Russia in 2008.