A ballet slowly gets a makeover

The original artistic director for our school and company is a local legend.

The man taught thousands of students. He choreographed his own version of The Nutcracker, painted the backdrops for each scene and played a role in the creation of the props and other materials used for the sets.

Anyone associated with the school who is older than the age of 35 speaks about him in reverence.

Any attempt to change anything this man had a part in creating during the more than 30 years he was artistic director is met, as you can expect, with some form of resistance.

Mr. O found that out when he brought his own version of his Nutcracker a few short years ago. He is still finding that out as he works with the theater director of a local university.

The sets, the backdrops that the original director created were pretty remarkable. But the problem? Many things used for the Nutcracker are well … more than 40 years old. The old stage crew that ran the show up until this year put up resistance to replace the stuff.

They retired.

The makeover is slowly beginning. I put in a link about the costumes. We now have a new snow scene backdrop. It totally rocks. My iPhone can’t do it justice.

But there is still plenty left to do that won’t be done at least for another Nutcracker or two to come. The one thing that baffles me? Why during the reign of the original artistic director and a couple of his successors that no one thought about updating or replacing deteriorating props, backdrops and other things needed for scenes.

That doesn’t take away from what was originally done. It adds to it, and make things simpler in the long run. We had to replace the rickety stairs used for the entrance because they reached the point where you couldn’t replace them anymore,

And the barres we use for company warm ups? They’re as old as me.

And the backdrops for the party at Stahlbaums, the battle scene and the Land of Sweets are tattered, and at the point of mildew. Even the original artistic director should have thought about replacing them after a couple of decades.

I’m including a photo of the snow backdrop.

As for today’s schedule: It’s the lightest of production week, somewhat.

I have spacing rehearsal for Chinese that’s only 30 minutes. But then I lend a hand with the small, new stage crew. There’s still much to do with the sets.

Tomorrow, the real dancing work begins on stage with a full Act 2 rehearsal.Image



One response to “A ballet slowly gets a makeover

  • RO

    Some things are in need of change! Even if it’s just a bit of renovation. The snowflake scene looks amazing! Gorgeous.. I am looking forward to read some more about this production! I think it’s going to be great 🙂

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