Aw, Nuts

It's lights out for Texas Ballet Theater's Nutcracker this year

It's lights out for Texas Ballet Theater's 'Nutcracker' this year

Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker
Just no way to socially-distance Clara from that Nutcracker. Photo by Amitava Sarkar

The holidays just won't look the same this year without a trip to the Land of Sweets and a dancing nutcracker doll come to life.

Texas Ballet Theater has canceled its annual production of The Nutcracker, scheduled for November 27-December 6, 2020, at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas and December 11-27, 2020, at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

The decision to cancel what was supposed to be the first production of the 2020-21 season was made when organizational leaders deemed it "impossible to effectively prepare for and perform the production with social distancing and other safety measures in place."

The nonprofit ballet company also noted that when dancers return from their regularly scheduled summer break on August 24, TBT would follow COVID-19 prevention protocols that would prevent dancers from partnering or dancing within six feet of each other.

Obviously, adhering to those regulations means that the company is unable to safely rehearse The Nutcracker, as well as its popular, one-night-only companion production of The Nutty Nutcracker. For the first time ever, Dallas was scheduled to also receive a performance of the company's irreverent, pop culture-filled take on the holiday classic.

There's also the matter of audiences and social distancing. The guidelines would dramatically reduce the number of patrons who can enjoy Dallas-Fort Worth's biggest production of Tchaikovsky's classic. Due to the magnitude of sets, costumes, and special effects, the company cannot recoup the expenses of its largest production of the season without its regular audiences.

"Bringing The Nutcracker to life requires large numbers of dancers, crew, and staff to be in close proximity with each other as early as September, which causes serious concerns amid our public health landscape," says TBT executive director Vanessa Logan. "We will still connect with our community this holiday season, just in a different way."

Despite canceling the ballet, which is choreographed by artistic director Ben Stevenson, the company says it will continue to employ its dancers and will develop new programs to engage audiences during the holiday season.