For the first time in 29 years, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre will not be staging its annual holiday classic, "The Nutcracker, A Tale from the Bayou."
The company made this decision with safety measures for the coronavirus pandemic in mind. With a cast and crew of more than 100, the company would not be able to ensure everyone's safety.
The show, in normal circumstances, also would bring together students from throughout the Baton Rouge area for rehearsals beginning in October, which would not be safe.
“Of course we are so sad to not be able to bring our favorite production of the year to the stage this season, but we are especially concerned for our dancers and loyal fans,” Co-Artistic Director Molly Buchmann said. “We are a creative and a resilient group, so we are putting our heads together to plan some very special events that would not be possible in a full 'Nutcracker' year.”
Starting in November, the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre will host a series of Zoom events that will engage youngsters in a fully interactive "Nutcracker" experience. Participants will join in choreography and dancing with the company members, storytelling and sharing sweets in the three-part series, "The Nutcracker Sweets." Ticketing information be announced later.
“While this year will be an economic challenge, we hope that our community will choose to support us through this difficult time and join us in 2021 when our 'Nutcracker — A Tale from the Bayou' returns to the beautifully renovated River Center Theatre,” Buchmann said. “That will be a great day.”
Also, the company has announced its 2020-21 season lineup with smaller audiences in mind.
In past years, ballet theater has featured a nationally touring company in the fall. This year, it will showcase its Youth Ballet company, along with its company dancers in the festive fall production, "Midnight Magic," featuring pieces that celebrate the spookier side of dance.
This will be an in-studio performance that will be produced and sold as a video link for all to enjoy in mid-October.
That will be followed by the live Zoom series, "The Nutcracker Sweets" at 2 p.m. Nov. 15, 29 and Dec. 13. Tickets will go on sale on Oct. 30, and treats and crafts for each event will be available for pick up at the Dancers’ Workshop, 10745 Linkwood Court, prior to each date. Ordering information will be announced later.
Lastly, the company plans to return to the stage at the Manship Theatre at Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.,on March 27, with a joint production of the Youth Ballet and the ballet company dancers in the comic ballet, "Coppélia."
For more information, call (225) 766-8379 or visit batonrougeballet.org.