(Chelsea Update would like to thank D&B Strategic Marketing for the information in this story.)
Ballet Chelsea is giving back to the community on Dec. 4-5 during Hometown Holidays with a full-length “Very Merry Nutcracker” film at the Chelsea Community Fairgrounds providing a safe opportunity to participate in the magic during this very unusual holiday season.
To purchase tickets to the drive-in production, go to Ballet Chelsea’s website: https://balletchelsea.org/tickets/.
A Very Merry Nutcracker full-length film is a result of Ballet Chelsea’s creativity and initiative. The filming was enabled through the generosity of donor contributions to the recent “Partner With Us” digital fundraising campaign and the award of $1,000 from Chelsea Area Festivals & Events Grants for the Arts.
While performing arts and theaters remain closed, Ballet Chelsea’s new film production of the Nutcracker will spread holiday cheer.
The success of the project was due in part to the generosity and partnership with the Chelsea Community Fair Board, and was developed while Ballet Chelsea retrofitted one of the barns to hold studio classes and rehearsals.
The work behind the scenes was extensive. Much of Artistic Director Wendi DuBois’s choreography had to be re-done to flow in nontraditional spaces. Dancers who were sidelined for almost six months worked hard to get back into shape while simultaneously learning new choreography.
Ballet Chelsea had a tight staging and filming schedule of six short weeks.
“The strengths of our artistic and administrative team as well as dedicated volunteers facilitated the timely completion of the project,” said Jean Delwiche, studio manager and registrar in a press release.
A Very Merry Nutcracker is not your “normal” Nutcracker. Michael Wecht, a talented local professional with both film and acting experience, took a very different approach to this film rendition of the holiday tradition. As a film artist, his presence within the choreography transformed the traditional stage production into an interactive experience.
Through the lens, he invites viewers to join Marie and Fritz on their journey, not to the conventional Candy Palace, but rather to a beautiful, enchanted garden. Wecht spent more than 200 hours filming, editing, and creating the “magic” behind this collaborative endeavor.
Proceeds from the CAFE grant, as well as a generous donation from the Wilkinson Foundation, assisted with this aspect of the project.
DuBois carefully crafted Ballet Chelsea’s traditional Nutcracker transformation, which premiered in 1997, into a fresh new narrative suited for non-traditional performance spaces and socially distanced choreography. The film format, chosen to allow for Ballet Chelsea’s Nutcracker to be shared during the holidays, also guaranteed a safe viewing experience for the community.
Natalie Krienke and Steffani Kitayama, two of Ballet Chelsea’s professional dancers, participated in the film, which took place at the Chelsea Fairgrounds in Chelsea and Sharon Mills Park in Manchester.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous challenges for many arts organizations in sharing quality performance experiences with their communities. Despite these challenges, Ballet Chelsea remains committed to its role as an arts organization.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, “We’re committed to remaining a source of joy, empowerment, health, and well-being for our community,” said Board President John Shea in a press release.
Ballet Chelsea gratefully thanks the donors and sponsors who generously helped to underwrite this production. Their support enables Ballet Chelsea to keep their artistic staff and professionals in the dance field working, thereby keeping the arts community on its feet. Their push in creating innovative performance projects has kept student artists growing while providing some normalcy through the pandemic.
“By refusing to allow the performing arts to be sidelined, we continue to share the joy of movement and music with our communities,” said DuBois. “We invite others with a passion for the arts to continue to lend a hand as we turn our attention to the next creative project to be shared with our community. Together, we will continue to create beauty safely.”