While the pandemic has halted many live performances and holiday traditions, the River Region Ballet, Inc. has devised a plan for its own show to go on.
Produced annually since 1995, the River Region Ballet’s combination of dancers, sets and costumes coupled with Tchaikovsky’s timeless music makes the Nutcracker one of the most popular local holiday traditions.
This year the holiday tradition will continue in the River Parishes, as River Region Ballet will be selling streaming privileges to a pre-recorded performance. The decision to stream the production was made to help ensure the safety of all performers, crew members, volunteers and spectators.
President DeAnn Sullivan said the company has been hard at work to offer the community the 26th year of their Nutcracker production.
“The fact that we still did it after Katrina was one reason why we tried to find an alternative way to do it this year,” Sullivan said, adding all sets, costumes and props will all be moved to the Lafon Center this week in anticipation of upcoming filming.
The inspiration to offer the Christmas performance virtually happened this summer during the company’s annual summer camp. Instead of the traditional live performance on the last night of the camp, Sullivan said a video of the dance was produced and streamed.
“That gave us an idea,” Sullivan said. “It means a lot to me to be able to offer it to the community. I’ve been a part of it since 2004.”
The production is a family for Sullivan, with both her daughter and son involved in it throughout their lives.
Sullivan said in order to gauge interest in producing a show this year, a letter was sent out to members of last year’s cast. She said she was shocked when a large majority of people said they wanted to participate.
“To me that’s saying the community wanted it,” she said. “Just being able to do it and continuing to be able to give some sort of normalcy is special.”
The cast of 105 has been busy with rehearsals, in which Sullivan said all COVID regulations are followed.
“This is a 15-week process that we have done in 8 weeks,” she said of rehearsals. “We’re doing double time to make this happen for the community.”
Sullivan said the link will be operable for several weeks in December, and users will be able to access the production as many times as they want from one device.