When the final curtain call finished for Bristol Ballet’s 2019 production of “The Nutcracker,” no one dreamed it would be the last live production for the company for a while. Now, two years later, Bristol Ballet is primed for its reopening of live shows with its 2021 “Nutcracker” production. The performances are Friday Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11 at noon and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Covid-19 prohibited Bristol Ballet from live performances, just as it did theater and dance productions all over the world. The company, its director, staff, board and dancers looked for ways to stay active and alive. These included an outdoor mini performance in June 2020, and two drive-in productions in December 2020 and May 2021.
Bristol Ballet lost its lease in June when the building they were leasing space in was sold. The company had 60 days to find another home. Through the generosity of several community members, Bristol Ballet acquired the old Athens Steakhouse building and moved into the space in August.
“We are a bit cramped right now, sharing office space, costume space and studio space until the renovation can be completed. But everyone is working hard and is happy to be in a place we can call our own. From making (what seems like weekly) trips to rented storage spaces to look for costume parts and take back things we ultimately aren’t going to use, to putting together a makeshift waiting area/lunchroom for the dancers to use between rehearsals, things are constantly shifting. Everyone has been really adaptable and willing to do whatever it takes. They want to be on stage,” said Moira Frazier Ostrander, managing director.
“They have worked so hard. Their spirit is truly inspiring,” said Plescia. “I feel so fortunate that we’re even still here, open and producing ballets. I have friends whose ballet schools closed. I read every day about other ballet schools and companies across the globe that did not survive the pandemic. We are so grateful to be here.”
This year’s “The Nutcracker” features a party scene, complete with pups in small roles at the Saturday matinee, with dogs from the Sullivan County Animal Shelter available for adoption.
Professional guest artists from New York City dance in the roles of Snow Queen and Cavalier, Arabian, Sugar Plum and her Cavalier, including Erin Ginn (a Kingsport native) and Jace Coronado, returning to reprise their roles. A former Bristol Ballet student who is now a student at King University appears as The Nutcracker. Coach Mike Locke returns as Drosselmeyer.
Tickets are on sale at the Paramount Center for the Arts, www.paramountbristol.org or 423-274-8920.