Friday, December 10, 2010

Hello readers! It's been quite a long time since my last post. Nutcracker season is in full swing and there is never a dull moment here at the office! We've had a lot of very exciting things going on, and of course, we are all excited for The Nutcracker to open tonight at the Ohio Theatre!

In honor of the opening, and to make up for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, I have posted 3 Nutcracker related blogs. You can find them below this post. The first is all about BalletMet's recent tour to Syracuse, the second is an inside look at what it's like to be the Nuthead, and the third is a series of interviews with students who will be dancing in The Nutcracker this year.

I am sad to say that today is my last day interning here at BalletMet. I have had such a wonderful experience here and I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such fantastic people. Thank you to everyone who made my last undergraduate internship great. I know the lessons I've learned here will be invaluable as I graduate and begin looking for employment! My time here has been absolutely amazing and I have had so much fun! Thank you thank you thank you BalletMet!

Happy reading and happy holidays!

Hope to see everyone at the theatre!

Syracuse Tour

BalletMet on Tour!

Though we are all anxiously waiting for opening night here in Columbus, citizens of Syracuse New York have already had the chance to see what we have in store for us. Last weekend, our dancers loaded onto a bus bound for Syracuse for a weekend tour. While the dancers began making their way to New York on the 2nd, the rest of the crew headed up to load into the theater a few days later. Several trucks of sets, scenery, costumes and floor (yes, floor, we bring our Marley and sprung wood floors if the theater doesn’t have one). Our dancers performed Dec. 3-6 and received great reviews! We are proud to say that the performances were a hit! Everyone got back late Sunday night, just before a big snowstorm hit Syracuse. According to one of our Facebook fans, we must have the luckiest Nutcracker of them all! The thruway shut down AFTER our buses got into town and Syracuse got snowed in AFTER they left! Yikes! We are thankful everyone is back safe and sound and are all very excited for opening night of The Nutcracker here in Columbus! posted a wonderful review of the performance, stating that the collaboration between BalletMet and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra resulted in a “brilliant” presentation of The Nutcracker. The authors write that BalletMet’s version of The Nutcracker is the most sophisticated they have seen! “It shows in the subtle colors and opulent sets. The dances are all the more beautiful for being presented with restraint and precision rather than-as some productions choose-a kind of overly energetic abandon.” Other highlights featured in the article included the “stunning” Arabian dance, which “yielded all the more magic when considered in contrast to the comic dance in which Mother Ginger, in her garish blue gown, expelled dancing, playful urchins from beneath her skirts.”

To read the full article, go here:

Syracuse Tour Review

Enjoy reading, and check out these great pictures taken from backstage at the performances!

Being the Nuthead


When I first started my internship here this quarter, I wrote that my time at BalletMet would be unlike any other internship experience. I was definitely right!

As some of you may know, our famous Nuthead is Mr. Popularity during Nutcracker season. We receive a lot of requests for him to appear at community holiday events and sales promotions. You should see his appearance calendar!! He’s a busy guy!

All the fame and recognition means that our beloved Nuthead is highly in demand on a weekly basis. We are fortunate enough to have amazing parents and staff members volunteer to don the costume. However, at times, emergency situations come up and we have to find someone very quickly to step up and step into the costume. So who do you think got to wear the costume when a crisis (not really a crisis but it sounds more interesting that way) arose?! Yours truly! ME!

You could say that wearing the Nuthead costume is somewhat of a rite of passage among staffers. We’ve all done it and we all have fun stories to tell! I am proud to say that after wearing the costume, I now have some of my own stories to tell!

Let me tell you-putting on that huge costume, snazzy white velvet pants and cool white gloves can transform you into a completely different person. I made my appearances for State Auto and PNC Bank’s corporate sales events. I waved, I shook hands, I made my way through crowded cafeterias, braved balconies and conquered escalators and revolving doors!

My journeys began with carrying the costume out to my car and trying desperately to fit it into my trunk without smashing it. I felt a little cruel putting him in a trash bag and stuffing it into such a small space, but he made it into the car safely and survived the car trips. It was a little difficult carrying the costume through parking garages and along city streets, but I did it and did it successfully!

I was very lucky to have two amazing handlers who helped get me into the costume and guided me. I admit I was a little nervous at first. I made sure to eat breakfast and drink a lot of water before so I stayed hydrated and didn’t get overheated! I even ditched my high heels and wore FLAT black boots! Shocking! Absolutely necessary though-I can’t imagine trying to walk around in heels with that costume on! I’m sure I would look hilarious though! Once I got the costume on, I was surprised by how tall it made me and I was surprised at how well I could see out of the costume! I didn’t really realize the costume added a few extra feet in height to the top of my head and a few inches to each side of my shoulders-I had to do a lot of ducking and crouching through doors. I could see everything pretty well! I am proud to say I didn’t run into anything or fall down. I’d say that’s a major accomplishment!

Since I wasn’t really interacting with children and families at these events, I had to make connections with adults. I tried my best to brighten the days of the State Auto and PNC Bank workers by bringing smiles to their faces or getting little laughs out of them. It worked, and it was so much fun when it did!

It was really fun to promote The Nutcracker with such great people. I’m happy I was given the opportunity to experience the Nuthead tradition firsthand and I love that I have my own stories to tell now!

Have you seen the pictures from the Nuthead’s appearance circuit?! If not, here are some for you to enjoy.

Walking in the Polaris Fashion Place holiday parade

City Tree Lighting

Columbus Blue Jackets Game

Become a fan of The BalletMet Nutcracker on Facebook to see more pictures and get updates about upcoming Nuthead appearances!

Student Interviews

It’s that time of year again! We busy staffers and interns working upstairs are being serenaded by Tchaikovsky’s melodies and I personally have loved being here for all the excitement! There’s never a dull moment here at BalletMet during Nutcracker season!

One of the most fun aspects of The Nutcracker is the fact that over 100 student dancers of all ages perform with the company dancers each year! Some have been participating for many years, and others are dancing in the show for the very first time. However, whether they have been doing it for years or are experiencing the fun and excitement of dancing in The Nutcracker for the first time, each student takes away happy memories and each student has their own story to tell.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of talking to some of the student dancers in the show, and they were kind enough to share with me what it’s like to audition, some of their favorite things about the show, and how it feels to perform with a professional company.


My first interview was with Sarah Wilson, a Pre-Professional student here at BalletMet.

How long have you been dancing with BalletMet?

-7 years

How long have you been doing Pre-Pro? What does that involve?

-I’ve been doing Pre-Pro for 2 years. Last year was my first year. It’s basically all day-I’m home-schooled so I do classes on top of rehearsals every week. I’m trying to get through my junior and senior year this year.

Do you still have to audition for The Nutcracker?

-Yes, everyone does

What does the audition process involve?

-You come in and fill out a registration form and then they always measure you for height. You don’t get to pick what you audition for-you get what you get. We do warm-ups after we get our height measurements, and then we audition. They usually make up new stuff for us since we already are familiar with The Nutcracker, that way we still have to think about what we’re doing. The audition lasts an hour and a half to about an hour and forty five minutes.

Do you get nervous?

-No-not really anymore-you just go in and do it. “I still want to do my best”. I still always go in and make sure my hair looks nice. I want to be professional.

Do you have a favorite piece?

-I like “Arabian” because it’s different. It’s not exactly your typical ballet.

What pieces are you dancing this year?

-“Arabian” and “Soldier”

What piece did you do last year?

-“Flowers”-I got to do it with the company twice.

When did rehearsals start?

-Auditions were the 2nd week of September-we started rehearsing the 3rd week of September. We start with Soldiers first. There are three casts for everything-I started Arabian with the pre-pros weeks ago.

So you were Clara? Can you tell me a bit about that? How old were you? What was it like to get your letter?

-Well, I got to be Clara twice. The first time I was just Clara-I was 12 years old and I was really excited to get my letter. Now they send out emails, but when I got it they sent me a letter in the mail, which was really exciting. We went to Buffalo, New York that year to dance the show and so I was Clara there too. My older sister was also Clara. The second time, I was Clara, a party girl, a party mouse and one of mother ginger’s children. One of the girls got hurt so they kind of threw me into it. It was a lot but I did it!

Do you have a favorite costume?

-I love the costumes for Flowers. They’re just so beautiful! Last year I got to wear the purple one which is my favorite since purple is my favorite color!

Do you have any favorite or funny memories from performing in The Nutcracker?

-Sometimes the Nutcracker we use on stage would be broken already-so sometimes whoever was playing Drosselmeyer or someone would say something funny on stage to make light of the situation or make it funny for the audience. The party scene conversations are always funny too because those are all improvised.

Do you have a favorite family holiday tradition?

-My family and I usually go to my grandma’s house for Christmas Usually everyone in my family comes to see me in The Nutcracker and we go out to dinner after.

The other student I was able to interview was Laserik Ross, who will be playing Fritz this year.

How long have you been dancing with BalletMet?

-I have been dancing with BalletMet for 3 years.

What is the audition process like? Do you get nervous? Do you do anything special to prepare?

-The audition process starts first with all of the boys and then the girls. When the boys go in Mrs. Yo gives the younger boys or boys smaller than her a combination and then the boys larger than a different combination. When I first tried out for Nutcracker I did get a little nervous but not anymore. Something I do something special before I audition is get into character and go over dance moves that I need.

What is it like to play Fritz? What was it like to find out you got the part? How did you find out?

-To me playing Fritz is very fun because you get to be in the naughty and nice scene, I get to do more stuff in the party scene and I get to do sneaky bad things in the party scene also. When I found out that I was Fritz I was excited and happy and couldn’t wait to go to rehearsal. I found about being Fritz through a letter.

What is your favorite thing about playing Fritz?

-My favorite part about being fritz is being in the family scene.

What is your favorite Nutcracker piece?

-My favorite Nutcracker piece is “Ginger”.

Is it cool to perform with the professional dancers in the company?

-It is really cool to perform with the professional dancers in the company because it makes the ballet seem even more real.

Do you have any funny/favorite memories from dancing in The Nutcracker?

-One of my funny memories from dancing Nutcracker was it was the closing show and a company member (Drosselmeyer) was supposed to get mad at Fritz and instead of flopping his cape he did like a turn/jump/flopping his cape and made a noise and the whole cast was trying not to laugh on stage even me.

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition and/or what is your favorite thing about the holidays?

-A Holiday tradition I have is to have a huge feast on Christmas just like Thanksgiving and my favorite thing about the holiday is receiving presents.

Come see Sarah, Laserik and over 100 students perform with the BalletMet company dancers in The Nutcracker, opening TONIGHT and running through December 26th at the Ohio Theatre!