One holiday tradition that COVID-19 has stolen like a grinch is the beloved ballet The Nutcracker. Texas Ballet Theater canceled all 2020 performances of its annual production — the biggest in Dallas-Fort Worth — months ago, and smaller groups are grappling with ways to present the elaborate production safely for both cast and audience.
A Fort Worth ballet company thinks it has just the ticket. Ballet Frontier, the only professional company bringing The Nutcracker to the Fort Worth stage this season, is presenting The Nutcracker: Kingdom of Sweets, a shortened version of The Nutcracker to accommodate social distancing on stage and off.
The performances will also include other Ballet Frontier fan favorites, such as the pieces White Swan Pas de Deux and Butterfly Lovers, according to a release.
They'll be presented four times the first weekend of December: at 7:30 pm December 4, 2 pm and 7:30 pm December 5, and 2 pm December 6, all at Will Rogers Auditorium.
"With COVID-19 precautions, The Nutcracker: Kingdom of Sweets is the safest and best way to celebrate the arts, the holidays, and the magic of The Nutcracker," the company says in a release. Those precautions include temperature checks, face coverings, and social distancing requirements for both audience and dancers at each performance.
Each performance will include the "Snow Scene" and second act of The Nutcracker followed by additional, non-Nutcracker piece performed. The company says these could include Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, which debuted in September at an outdoor performance in Dallas; Moldau by Ballet Frontier artistic director Chung-Lin Tseng; White Swan Pas de Deux with live musical accompaniment from Fort Worth Symphony concertmaster and first violinist Swang Lin; Come Together and Oh Darling! featuring music by The Beatles, and Butterfly Lovers and Andante & Finale choreographed by Tseng.
“We decided to include additional performances of audience favorites to give our dancers opportunities to perform more and to give audiences a glimpse of what else ballet companies have to offer,” Enrica Tseng, artistic advisor says in the release. “COVID-19 has put the performing arts industry in a terrible position and we want these performances to give audiences hope during these difficult times or simply offer an opportunity to forget about all of the bad and simply enjoy something beautiful.”
Ballet Frontier's season will then continue in the spring, with the iconic Swan Lake presented on Valentine's weekend, February 13-14, 2021, and La Sylphide, on April 10-11, 2021.
Tickets to The Nutcracker: Kingdom of Sweets are $35-$45 and available now at balletfrontier.org.