“It was going to be one (show) per year,” says Daniel, “but as we went on, it seemed like our kids needed more, to help their classwork, to help them be better dancers.” In 2015, they added a fall show to their performance calendar.
This year, however, their fall show turned into a winter show due to a practical reason: theater availability. “When we started researching theater dates, December 3 was the only thing available,” says Daniel. “You can’t really do a fall show December 3, so we rubbed our heads together a while and decided to go ahead and go for Nutcracker.”
Daniel and Julie are well aware of the many Nutcracker performances in the area, but firmly believe in their dancers and their production. They have both performed in countless Nutcracker productions and wanted to share the expertise they have with the material with their students. “We have all these things floating in our head, all these wonderful elements from all these different places, and (the Nutcracker) is such a rich tradition that ballet dancers get to participate in,” says Daniel.
They wanted to give their students the opportunity to be part of that tradition. And so they offer their knowledge, dedication and passion to their students. In doing so, they ask a lot of their dancers, but they give all they have to their students and their school.
Their dedication goes above and beyond what many would expect. Daniel built the studio floor by hand in order to make it as safe for their students as possible. They painted the entire studio twice to give it the right ambiance. And they are making the entire set for “The Nutcracker” by themselves. “We’re constructing a Victorian party scene in our garage,” laughs Julie.
While their past performances have been intentionally minimalist, Ballet Blake is ready to go all out on “The Nutcracker.” “This is the extreme other end of the spectrum,” says Daniel. He and Julie chose to perform the entire show, not just the shorter Nutcracker Suite, in order to include the battle scene and party scene. “When we commit to doing something, we do it all the way,” says Daniel. This means more costumes, more props and more rehearsal than what is required for the Suite, but it also means the dancers get a more in-depth study of “The Nutcracker,” and the audience will be even more captivated by the classic holiday story.
IF YOU GO:
- What – “The Nutcracker” presented by Ballet Blake
- When – 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, December 3, 2016
- Where – Lourdes High School Auditorium, 2800 19th St. NW, Rochester
- Admission – $15; available at balletblake.com in advance or at the door day-of