Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker


Ballet Austin is having its 50th Anniversary this year. Their 44th annual production of the The Nutcracker starts tomorrow evening. Some local bloggers, including yours truly and my daughter, attended the tech rehearsal last night at Bass Concert Hall. In my rush to make the rehearsal, I forgot my tripod, so you’ll have to forgive the photo quality. We also only made it through the first act; bringing your four-year-old daughter to a 7pm weeknight performance probably isn’t the best idea. Still, she must’ve enjoyed it as my wife reports that she spent most of the day spinning around and crashed for an out-of-character nap at 3pm today. I have a feeling that won’t be the last performance I attend in the near future.

Enough about my home life, how was it, you say? It was good. I attended two or three performances of the Nutcracker as a kid in Dallas. Reading a review on the Ballet Austin site from last year, I’d agree with Patti Hadad. The two dolls brought in by Herr Drosselmeyer had the most impressive performances. I was a little disappointed in the sword fight between the nutcracker prince and the mouse king. I remember it being much more impressive. I’ve always preferred the first act to the second, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

The Statesman had a story yesterday on tryouts for the Nutcracker in its Life and Arts section. Ballet Austin is comprised of the main company and Ballet Austin II or the apprentice company. It also runs the Ballet Austin Academy. The main company has 20 dancers and the rest of the Nutcracker production is filled in with dancers from the apprentice program and the academy, totaling somewhere near 100 dancers to stage the production.

I honestly haven’t paid much attention to Ballet Austin in the 15 years that I’ve lived here, but it’s apparently really coming into its own. It’ll move to the Long Center when it opens in May 2008. Apparently the addition of Stephen Mills in 2000 has really put the company on the national map and they’re a fund raising machine, sharing the generosity that they receive with other non-profits in the city. For instance, tonight’s dress rehearsal is attended mostly by people served by other non-profits, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend. It’s all an encouraging sign that Austin is growing into a city large enough to support a wider range of arts than those that make it the “Live Music Capital of the World”.

There’s another photo in the extended entry after the jump.


1 Comment so far

  1. Prentiss Riddle (unregistered) on December 10th, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    Gosh, why didn’t you tell us the Circle Jerks would be playing Tchaikovsky?

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