Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Not Your Grandmother’s Nutcracker: Wilmington Ballet Announces Virtual Nutcracker Experience

Information in this post comes from a press release from The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance.

While COVID-19 and socially distant restrictions have shut down the majority of arts organizations around the world, the Wilmington Ballet have been pirouetting full force into the new – a new philosophy, new staff, and a new way to bring the holiday tradition of The Nutcracker to families across Delaware for the 53th year. 

From December 7-12, sugarplums will dazzle, mice and soldiers will battle, and snowflakes will swirl as the Wilmington Ballet presents their completely virtual Nutcracker Experience. This five-night, online event will feature a mix of pre-recorded and live videos. The ballet will be performed in venues across the Greater Wilmington area, including The Delaware Art Museum and The Playhouse on Rodney Square.

Viewers can expect to be blown away by this year’s guest stars:
 Akua Parker - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Academy of the Dance alumna
 Georgina Pazcoguin - New York City Ballet Soloist
 Lateef Williams – Royal Ballet of Flanders, Wilm Ballet Alumni
 Amanda Smith - Dance Theater of Harlem
 Anthony Santos – Dance Theater of Harlem
 The Voloshky Ukranian Dance Ensemble

“We really had to test our creativity this year and expand the performance to fit the current times we find ourselves in,” said Benjamin Cannon, Wilmington Ballet’s new Executive and Artistic Director. “It was important to us to keep this tradition alive for our community. Now more than ever, a sense of ‘normal’ and familiarity is so needed, and our hope is that by presenting The Nutcracker in a new and innovative way, we can help families hang on to a holiday tradition they may have otherwise had to forego.” 

This year’s ballet will be presented virtually on new virtual events platform Markee – created locally in Downtown Wilmington. Since quietly launching in June 2020, Markee has hosted more than 100 events, including the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, EasterSeals Delaware and Maryland’s Easter Shore Annual Caregiver Conference, and an event for The Future Party.

Other local organizations involved in this year’s production include:
 DelawareArt Museum
 Pieces of a Dream Academy of Dance
 McAlleer-Paulson School of Irish Dance
 Stage Lights Dance Academy
 The Playhouse on Rodney Square

“Including and becoming more a part of our local community was imperative to us,” said Christopher Davis, the ballet’s Associate Artistic Director. “We were floored when we were introduced to Markee and could not sign up fast enough when we learned it was built just a mile from our studio! The Delaware Art Museum has been an incredible partner, and we fully intend to include as many community organizations as possible in our programming going forward.”

Cannon and Davis, both with impressive backgrounds featuring Broadway and professional dance companies, are hoping to use this year’s performance as an introduction to the new Wilmington Ballet and Academy of the Dance. The long-term plans for the dance company include adding more diverse class options, community programming, extensive building updates, and an exciting rebranding project with local branding agency BrandSwan.

The Tuttleman Foundation Presents: The Nutcracker Experience
• Monday, Dec. 7 – Wednesday, Dec 9: 7pm
• Thursday, Dec. 10: 8:30pm (Special presentation in conjunction with Delaware Art Museum)
• Friday, Dec. 11: 7pm
• Saturday, Dec. 12: 2pm (Special matinee with guest stars from the historic Playhouse on Rodney Square)

Tickets ($75 per single household) are on sale now at https://events.wilmingtonballet.org/the-nutcracker-experience.

(The Wilmington Ballet asks that viewers continue to follow the Delaware State of Emergency guidelines that have been put in place. They have priced tickets per household to encourage social distancing. Once purchased, ticket links are unique and cannot be shared.)

About The Wilmington Ballet at the Academy of the Dance
Founded in 1956, as the Academy of the Dance, Wilmington Ballet has the longest-standing tradition of excellence in dance training in the region. Wilmington Ballet’s professional faculty is dedicated to providing exceptional ballet training to students of all ages. Wilmington Ballet students have advanced to the world’s top companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Martha Graham Company, Royal Ballet Flanders, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, as well as Broadway and more. Since 1967, the annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Playhouse on Rodney Square has provided our students the opportunity to perform with world-class professional artists and live orchestra. Wilmington Ballet is conveniently located in the Trolley Square neighborhood at 1709 Gilpin Avenue. The Wilmington Ballet is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.  More Information: www.wilmingtonballet.org.

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