The Gainesville Ballet Company is leaping back onstage this Christmas season with “The Nutcracker.”
The dance company has performed the ballet each year for 45 years, but took a two-year hiatus from performing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Charlotte DeLong, co-artistic director of the company, the entire studio is ready to get back into the rhythm of tradition.
“Our dancers love it for the sake of the Christmas tradition,” she said. “It makes it feel like it’s Christmastime when we get to do ‘The Nutcracker.’”
Pulling from original choreography by Gregory Aaron and Nicolas Pacana, the company is bringing a new twist to Tchaikovsky’s famous piece (but don’t worry, the sugarplum fairies aren’t going anywhere). Following the lead of Princess Clara, the ballet’s main character played by Gainesville High School senior Anslee Barrett, some parents and other adult performers will join the troupe onstage for a grand party scene — the beginning of a tradition that, DeLong hopes, will show that anyone can be a part of something big no matter their level of experience.
“We wanted to bring a fresh look to ‘Nutcracker’ that we felt like, again, after having a two year hiatus for ‘Nutcracker,’ it would just be fun and exciting to bring a whole brand new look and also to give our audience members something to look forward to,” DeLong said. “We have never had a Princess Clara in our ‘Nutcracker’ before so it has been fun to create this role and define it for many years to come.”
After a year without “The Nutcracker,” Gainesville Ballet Company is ready to return to the stage with 76 performers ranging from age 7 to adulthood, all clad in brand new costumes.
“Nutcracker is my favorite holiday tradition and it was disappointing that we didn’t get to do it last year,” Barrett said. “Although we continued to have classes, nothing compares to being able to perform on stage.”
According to DeLong, this year’s performance is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication on the dancers’ part; since August, the company has rehearsed five days a week in order to perfect the show.
“It’s gonna be really fun and really exciting to show new choreography and a new story to the Gainesville community,” she said.
Masks are required for guests, along with a questionnaire of any symptoms or close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 in accordance with Brenau University guidelines.For more information, call 770-532-4241 or visit gbcdance.com.