Photo from 2019 by Katie Ging Photography

Few things herald the coming of Christmas with more festive nostalgia than does Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday ballet, “The Nutcracker”.

In a turbulent year where few things were certain and even fewer brought joy, Berks Ballet Theatre was determined to provide a dose of festive cheer by providing a virtual performance of the beloved stage production for all to enjoy that will air this Saturday, December 19.

“​We are excited to tell the story in a different way than we normally would. [We were] able to incorporate narration and video footage from last year’s performance to enhance our recording of this year’s The Nutcracker Suite. Different Setting, Same Magic!”, ​shared BBT Ballet Master/Resident Choreographer Nathan Bland.

While noting that there were many unique elements of preparing for a performance during a pandemic, such as wearing masks during rehearsal, Bland noted that all of the company’s dancers had adapted flawlessly.

Photo from 2019 by Katie Ging Photography

Due to the fact that this year the performance will not include a regular full-sized cast or live music from The Reading Pops Orchestra, BBT decided to shorten the production and call it “The Nutcracker Suite” instead.

“​The wonderful thing about this shortened virtual production is it’s a great way to introduce a ballet performance to young kids, from the comfort of their homes,” s​aid Artistic Director Kelly Barber.

This year’s cast includes Faith Hartman as Clara, Emily Brossman as The Sugar Plum Fairy, Gretchen Kimmel as The Snow Queen, Lorelei Obst as The Dewdrop Fairy, Ahna Romanski as The Spanish Dancer, and Bland himself as Herr Drosselmeyer. ​

Photo from 2019 by Katie Ging Photography

“The unpredictable nature of the pandemic has taught the value of resilience, from dancing in my garage for four months to finally performing on stage, without an audience. I am so grateful for everyone at BBT for their commitment and dedication to the success of the show,” ​shared featured dancer Lorelei Obst​.

“​This ballet company was created for the sole purpose of giving the area’s young dancers more performance opportunities,” ​said Barber.

“​We’ve been navigating through such unprecedented times, but the one thing that has remained constant is BBT staying intact. We knew we would still work to get our dancers in front of an audience in some way, and I’m happy with this whole experience. It’s different but still feels the same in a way. The dancers are safely working hard and we can’t wait for our audience to experience this new version of “The Nutcracker” from their homes.”

To view BBT’s “The Nutcracker Suite”,​ visit: BerksBalletTheatre.com/tickets, where you will be given a unique link the day of the performance.

This article is also available in: Español (Spanish)