Reimagined Nutcracker 2020

Photo: Vikki Sloviter

In December we present our annual production of the classic Nutcracker ballet. This is a wonderful opportunity for those ballet students who really enjoy performing. Through rehearsing for and performing in the Nutcracker, participants are able to gain an appreciation for the time and effort involved in preparing for a show. Performing with fellow students is an invaluable experience for young dancers, and being part of such a classic tradition will give them fond memories for years to come.

Due to COVID-19 this year’s production will be on video.  To allow students to rehearse and perform in small groups, scenes will be filmed separately and edited together.  While it will not be the same as previous years, we know the dancers will work hard and feel proud of this production.

Nutcracker Audition:

The 2020 auditions for the 11th Annual Nutcracker production will be held on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30 at our Old City location.  There is one Nutcracker audition for each level.  There are no make-up auditions.  You must pre-register for the audition.

This year, due to COVID-19, it is necessary to register for the audition by AUGUST 15 so we can organize groups for social distancing. 

Saturday, Aug 29
Pre-Ballet 2 10:00 – 10:45a
Ballet 1/1X 11:15a – 12:00p
Ballet 2/2X 12:30 – 1:15p
Ballet 3/3X 1:45 – 2:30p
PYB Audition for 3/3X 2:30 – 3:00p
Ballet 4/4X 3:30 – 4:15p
PYB Audition for 4/4X 4:15 – 4:45p
Sunday, Aug 30
Ballet 5/5X 10:00 – 11:30a
PYB Audition for 5/5X 11:30a – 12:00p
Ballet 6/6X 12:30 – 2:00p
PYB Audition for 6/6X 2:00 – 2:30p

Before the Audition:

  • – Please read carefully through the protocols and expectations for participation.  Email us if you have any questions.
  • PARENTS: Please attend the mandatory parent meeting on August 15 at 9:00a via Google Meet.
  • – By 11:59 p.m. on August 15, please complete the Nutcracker Participation Form that is at the bottom of this page.

Audition Day:

  • – On the audition day, please complete this symptom and exposure form via Google forms by 9am on your audition day.  You will be required to take your child’s temperature and enter it on the form.(COVID-19 NUTCRACKER SCREENING TOOL GOOGLE FORM)
  • – Arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled audition time.  
  • – Please maintain social distancing while you are waiting to enter the studio and at all times inside the studio.
  • – Arrive in dress code with a mask.  Masks will be worn during the audition and at all times in the studio.
  • – A PDA staff member will meet you at the “Sweat Gym” entrance.  Dancers in Ballet 1/1X and higher will go up the stairs independently.  Pre-Ballet 2 dancers can be accompanied by a parent if preferred.  Parents will exit through the back staircase by Studio C.  Parents may not wait in the lobby during the audition.
  • – Another PDA staff member will meet dancers at the top of the stairs and direct them to their assigned studio.  Each audition will be broken into groups of 15 or fewer dancers.  
  •  – Dancers will bring all belongings into the studio.  Dressing rooms are closed with the exception of the bathroom.
  • – As they do for class, dancers will wait on the marked 6’ distancing spots on the floor.
  • – During the audition dancers will learn and perform level-appropriate choreography in small groups of 4-6 dancers.
  • – Dancers will be dismissed through the back stairs near Studio C.  Door opens to Little Boys Court.  A staff member will be at the top of the stairs to guide dancers.  A staff member will be at street level with a walkie talkie to call your dancer down.

Casting:

  • – Casting will be sent by email by Monday, September 7.
  • – Dancers will be cast in one or two roles.  This takes into account trying to assign costumes to individual dancers and keep groups smaller to increase space between dancers.
  • – The average dance will have approximately 6-8 dancers.  Some roles are solos or trios. No dance will be larger than 16 total. 
  • – Siblings will be placed in the same cast.
  • – Main Line (Ardmore location) families will be placed in the same cast. 
  • – Dancers may not request or refuse a role.  As always in a production with a set number of roles, dancers may repeat a role. We carefully and thoughtfully place each dancer in appropriate roles and create opportunities for new roles when possible.

Rehearsals: 

  • – Parents/Dancers will need to report temperature and answer a symptom and exposure survey every Saturday and/or Sunday before their scheduled rehearsal. This will be available as COVID-19 NUTCRACKER SCREENING TOOL GOOGLE FORM  OR  you can print out the attached Philadelphia Health Department Waiver and submit by 12p every Saturday and/or Sunday of Nutcracker rehearsal. 
  • – Rehearsals will be held in-studio at the Old City location on Saturdays and Sundays in September and October beginning on Saturday, September 12.  Some dancers will have rehearsals on both days but most will be held on Saturdays.
  • – You cannot request a rehearsal day.  
  • – Rehearsals will start no earlier than 1:30p and will finish no later than 6:30p.
  • – We will try our very best to schedule dancers with two roles in back to back rehearsals.
  • There will be mandatory “run-through” rehearsals at the theater on Saturday, November 7 and Saturday, November 14
  • – Party Girls will be asked to bring their own dolls to rehearsal.
  • – There will be limited prop use during rehearsals. If/when props are used they will be assigned to individual dancers when possible and disinfected in the event they must be shared.
  • – Rehearsal times will be staggered between casts.
  • – Masks are required for all participants at all times during rehearsals.
  • – Due to the abbreviated rehearsal period, students may have one absence.
  • – In the event of mild illness or quarantine, a livestream of rehearsal can be made available for students.  Please let us know by 12p that day so we can arrange for the necessary technology.  This does not count as an absence.
  • – After choreography is complete, recordings can be made available for at-home practice.
  • – Arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled rehearsal time.  
  • – A PDA staff member will meet you at the “Sweat Gym” entrance.  Dancers in Ballet 1/1X and higher will go up the stairs independently.  Pre-Ballet 2 dancers can be accompanied by a parent if preferred.  Parents will exit through the back staircase by Studio C.
  • – Students will report directly to their rehearsal studio.
  • – Students will be dismissed through the back staircase near Studio C. 
  • – The Nutcracker schedule will be available on this page and the homepage of the website.  We try to plan for at least two weeks at a time but reserve the right to make changes in the event we see that a dance needs additional rehearsal time.  Please check frequently and always confirm on the day of rehearsals. 
  • Mandatory (except in the case of illness) rehearsals will be held at Christ Church Neighborhood House on Saturday, November 7 and Saturday, November 14.  This will be the first time scenes will be rehearsed with groups together because of the significantly larger space.  Costumes will NOT be worn and masks will be required.

A TENTATIVE SCHEDULE FOR NOVEMBER 7 & NOVEMBER 14:

2:00-2:30 Green Cast Battle Scene (Soldiers and Mice)

2:30-2:45 Green Cast Angels, Gingerbread, and Sugar Plum

3:00-3:30 Green Cast Party Scene

3:45-4:15 Green Cast – rest of 2nd Act

4:30-5:00 Red Cast Battle Scene (Soldiers and Mice)

5:00-5:15 Red Cast Angels, Gingerbread, and Sugar Plum

5:30-6:00 Red Cast Party Scene

6:15-6:45 Red Cast – rest of 2nd Act

PERFORMANCE/FILMING:

  • – Performances will be recorded on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 at Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, directly across from the Old City studio.
  • – Please arrive with stage make-up and hair done.  Dressing rooms will remain closed on filming day with the exception of the bathroom.
  • – During the filming day, groups/scenes will film separately and will be dismissed before the next group enters.
  • – You may be asked to arrive at the Great Hall ( on the filming day or the Old City Studio depending on your filming schedule.

A TENTATIVE FILMING SCHEDULE:

Saturday, November 21

1:00-1:30 Green Cast Angels, Sugar Plum, and Gingerbread

2:00-3:00 Green Cast – rest of 2nd Act (each dance filmed individually)

3:30-4:00 Red Cast Angels, Sugar Plum, and Gingerbread

4:30-5:30 Red Cast – rest of 2nd Act (each dance filmed individually)

Sunday, November 22

10:00-11:00 Green Cast Battle Scene

11:30-12:30 Green Cast Party Scene

1:00-2:00 Red Cast Battle Scene

2:30-3:30 Red Cast Party Scene

  • – A premiere/pre-recorded virtual performance of each cast will be streamed on Saturday, December 12 at different times. Tickets to each virtual performance will be sold for $30.
  • – Families will receive a digital download of the performances via Dropbox after the virtual performance on December 12.  This is included in the performance fee.
  • – Masks will not be worn on stage but will be required in the dressing rooms and at all other times.
  • – In the event of shared costumes, costumes will be sanitized with alcohol spray between casts.
  • – In the event of a closure/stay-at-home order, the recording will be postponed until a later date.

Nutcracker Rehearsal Schedule LINK WILL BE AVAILABLE HERE

NOTE: Please know we reserve the right to slightly change the rehearsal schedule according to what needs additional rehearsal. Please check frequently for updates.

FAQs

When is it?

We will film the shows on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22. 

A TENTATIVE FILMING SCHEDULE:

Saturday, November 21

1:00-1:30 Green Cast Angels, Sugar Plum, and Gingerbread

2:00-3:00 Green Cast – rest of 2nd Act (each dance filmed individually)

3:30-4:00 Red Cast Angels, Sugar Plum, and Gingerbread

4:30-5:30 Red Cast – rest of 2nd Act (each dance filmed individually)

Sunday, November 22

10:00-11:00 Green Cast Battle Scene

11:30-12:30 Green Cast Party Scene

1:00-2:00 Red Cast Battle Scene

2:30-3:30 Red Cast Party Scene

Where is it?

The Nutcracker will be filmed at Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater (20 N. American Street) directly across from the Old City studios.  Rehearsals will take place at the Old City Studios.

Who participates?

Students currently enrolled in Pre-Ballet 2, Primary, and Pre-Professional ballet programs at the Philadelphia Dance Academy are eligible to participate. All Pre-Ballet 2 dancers need to be at least 5 years old by the audition date to be eligible to participate. The Adult/Teen ballet classes are not eligible to participate.

How much does it cost to participate?

The participation fee is $350 and is automatically charged to the primary credit card on file after the audition.  This includes a Nutcracker t-shirt and a digital download of the performance. Tickets will be sold to a “virtual performance” for $30.  The production budget for Nutcracker is $30,000.  Due to the loss of ticket revenue, we will need to increase the participation fee to $350 per dancer to cover production costs.  This fee is non-refundable. The video will be aired via an online platform i.e. VImeo or YouTube Live on Saturday, December 12.  Tickets will be sold online and a link will be emailed.  

When do students learn the choreography?

The first rehearsal will be Saturday, September 12, 2020. Students rehearse at our main Old City location on the weekends. Most rehearsals are Saturdays and Sundays between 1:30pm and 6:30pm.  Cast members will not need to be there the entire time.  Most dancers will have rehearsal on Saturday, but there will be some dancers who rehearse on Sunday or both days.   We will make every attempt to schedule rehearsals back to back for students with two roles.

How many rehearsals can I miss?

Because of this year’s abbreviated rehearsal period, dancers may miss only 1 rehearsal, although we prefer that you do not miss rehearsal except in the event of illness.  This is very important. Young dancers need all their fellow cast members present in order to best learn spacing and choreography.

If you are not feeling well but are well enough to dance, you can participate in rehearsal virtually.  This does not count as an absence.

What happens if someone becomes sick?

We will follow the CDC Guidelines for Youth Sports in the event someone becomes ill. You can read this policy in detail under the heading “Preparing for When Someone Becomes Sick” on the CDC webpage.

What do students have to wear to perform?

We provide all costumes. In addition to these borrowed costumes, students must wear their own camisole nude leotards, footed pink tights, and pink ballet slippers. Other footwear may be required depending on the role. Boys may be required to wear a specific color tights or socks depending on their role.

Our goal will be to assign costumes to individual dancers.  To do this, we will be cutting the size of groups. For example, if we have 16 of a specific costume, we will try to make two casts of 8 dancers.   Many of the soloist costumes will likely need to be shared.  These costumes will be disinfected between uses.   

Is there a Dress Rehearsal?

Typically there is a dress rehearsal but this year there will not be a dress rehearsal.  Dancers will have costume fittings during September and October.

We have allocated time on the filming days for dancers to run through their dances in costume before we film.

There will be MANDATORY (except in the event of illness) rehearsals at Christ Church Neighborhood House on November 7 and November 14..  These will be the first time scenes will be put together.  For example, unlike other years, Mice and Soldiers, Maids and Party Kids, etc. will rehearse separately until we are in the theater.  No costumes will be worn.  Masks will be required.

How much are tickets to the performances?

$30 for the virtual performance on Saturday, December 12.

Can I volunteer to be a backstage volunteer or Party Parent?

We LOVE having our parents as part of the excitement but this year teachers will be performing as “Party Moms” and doing the backstage work.

We will limit volunteers to essential roles i.e. Clara’s father and Drosselmeyer.  

Nutcracker 2020 Audition Registration Form