|Dance for Joy!|
Kissing under the mistletoeâŚdecorating with evergreen wreaths, silver bells and red hollyâŚbaking sugar cookÂiesâŚbrightly wrapped surprises waiting to be openedâŚ singing carols by a crackling fireâŚ The holiday season is upon us, bringÂing beloved and time-honored traditions, memories and goodies in its festive wake. This yearâthanks to a collaboration between the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and the Tonner Doll Co. (TDC) that brings a new exÂpression to a beloved symbol of the seasonâall good doll collectors (if youâve been naughty, thereâs still hope) can look forward to a delightful gift.
In celebration of its sponsorship of the 2006 Nutcracker Family Benefit supporting NYCB and its official school, the School of American Ballet, TDC is unveiling graceful ballerina dolls. The collectionâs designs are based on and inspired by the original costumes of NYCBâs production of George Balanchineâs The Nutcrackerâ˘.
The NYCB dolls, approximately 16 inches tall, boast multiple articulated joints, including bending wrists. Dolls are sculpted with stationary en pointe feet (one style is made with standard high-heel arched fashion feet) and feature a smaller bustline than traditional Tyler-style 16-inch fashion dolls. The Emilie head sculpt is used on all 16-inch dolls in the debut NYCB collection; it is not the same as the Cinderellaâs Wicked Stepsister Euphemia head sculpt, which is also a new sculpt.
The dolls will help bring the balletâs magical fantasy into collectorsâ homes and recapture fond childhood memories of the holiday ballet, and all the excitement and anticipation this special season brings.Â While the 1892 version of The Nutcracker is now the most popular, it was the least well known of Tschaikovksyâs ballets until George Balanchine staged his adaptation in 1954. A resounding success, George Balanchineâs The Nutcrackerâ˘ has become an enchanting introduction in the artistry and grace of the ballet for generations of children.
The ballet also marked one of the most important artistic collaborations of the 20th centuryâthat of George Balanchine and the great costume deÂsigner, Barbara Karinska. Beyond music and choreography, production deÂsign can be a signature element of a ballet. According to Robert Daniels, NYCBâs managing director of marketing and communications, the âleoÂtard balletsâ or the âblack and white balletsâ serve as visual signatures. âThe danÂcers are costumed in black and white leotards, and the backdrop for the ballet is most often a deep blue scrim,â he notes.
âGeorge Balanchineâs The Nutcrackerâ˘ is a perfect example of the other exÂtreme in the NYCB repertoire as it has an opulent production design, with lavish sets, and hundreds of costumes of all shapes, sizes and colors,â Daniels continues. âA decision to re-costume a ballet is an artistic decision made by the balletâs choreographer. Sometimes costumes are remade, but not reÂdesigned. In a ballet like George Balanchineâs The Nutcrackerâ˘, for exÂample, the company still uses most of the original designs that Karinska created for the original 1954 production.â
Karinskaâs designs for George Balanchineâs The Nutcrackerâ˘ âclearÂly merit being memorialized as they are an integral part of a work that has had an extraordinary imÂpact on the dance world,â Daniels notes.Â And who better to memorialize the costumes and capture the Balanchine NYCB vision than RobÂert Tonner, who has done so much to elevate the quality of miniature couture?
On December 9, 2006, when NYCB and the School of American Ballet present their annual Nutcracker Family Benefit, TDC will be the proud sponsor. It was during the discussions about this sponsorship opportunity that the idea for the NYCB collection emÂerged. The result: a three-year licÂense enabling TDC to reÂproduce costumes from any of the ballets in the NYCB repertoire costumed by Madame Karinska.
âWe are also allowed to do costumes outside the ballet-based costumes,â TonÂner exÂplains. âThey understand our need to develop a fuller line. We certainly will try to keep the flavor of the NYCB in all that we do, and what we do will be part of the NYCB collection.â
The production of this specialized collection has enabled Tonner to emÂploy the 16-inch fashion doll body he first created for Tyler Wentworth. In doing so, however, the body required some re-engineering to more accurately capture a ballerinaâs style and grace. For the collection, Tonner opted for the small bust torso developed for the Memoirs of a Geisha collection and the bending wrist articulation developed for Tyler.
âWe did have to develop new legs,â Tonner notes. âHowever, NYCB was with us every step of the way to assure we achieved the right look with the en pointe feet and the turned out leg. âI have always wanted to do a ballerina. I love ballet. The dancers are amazing and the stories and costumes are perfect for dolls,â Tonner declares. âSometimes things just fall into place when they are supposed to. Until we were asked to sponsor the Nutcracker Family Benefit, we didnât have a ballerina in the line. It was just good fortune we had the body ready for her when the opportunity came.âÂ For the first head sculpt of the NYCB collection, Tonner chose Emilie, the head sculpt used for the limited-edition character created for the 2006 Paris Fashion Doll Festival. (Emilie, however, was produced using the Tyler body and fashion foot, and, as such, remains unique.)
Joe Petrollese, TDCâs design director, visited NYCB at its Lincoln Center home and had a field day studying and photographing the costumes housed there for the details and inspiration necessary for their re-creation.
âScale is always an issue in re-creating the collection in miniÂature,â Petrollese explains. âWe tried to keep the construction and design as close to how the costumes are actually made. Until you see them up close, you cannot imagine how they are made. For inÂstance, the layers of tulle are hand-stitched together to create an effect thatâs as if the skirt is defying gravity.â
George Balanchineâs The NutÂcrackerâ˘ will provide much opportunity for humor and delight as the costumes from the visit by Marie and her Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets are reproduced. One can just imagine peppermint candy canes in their stripes of green, white and pink as they dance before the Prince and PrinÂcess, marzipan shepherdÂesses and other âsweet treatsâ to enchant and inspire.Â For many of these, collectors will have to wait, however. But, hopefully in time to grace our holiday dĂŠcor, Tonner and Petrollese have selected to reproduce the two costumes worn by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the ballet. The Sugar Plum Fairy in her pas de deux in the Land of Sweets wears the costume featured on the cover. The other is her romantic long pink tutu, which is a featured part of the FAO exclusive NYCB trunk set. Also available will be the âDance of the Lady Doll,â which wears the costume appearing in the ballet during the Christmas Eve party. Two of Marieâs costumes are also reproduced: âMarieâs Special Gift,â which she is wearing when her godfather gives her the gift of the Nutcracker, and âOff to the Land of Sweets,â her sleep ensemble for the transition to the dream sequence. Other costumes in the NYCB collectionââLâHiver,â âSpanish Roseâ and âSwan Lakeââ were designed by TDC and are not actual reproductions.
âI certainly would like to do more with the collection next year, and new characters are part of that plan,â Tonner notes. âBy all means, a male dancer is needed.â Â
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The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industryâs Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.
Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!
The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You havenât seen a toy show until youâve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and childrenâs playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 â 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.