These performances usually demonstrate that the line between student and professional performance levels is hard to draw; the choreography, mostly by Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair, always seems musically aware to me and includes a pas de deux in the Snow scene as well as Balanchine's "Sugar Plum" adagio and coda in Act II.* While the music in the Pickwick will be provided by the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, in the Athenaeum it will be recorded; the performances are fully costumed and the stage space decorated by a series of backdrops and props. Besides some cast rotations, the matinee performances in the Athenaeum add a number of the younger students in the school to already-existing scenes in the production.
Further details, including images from past seasons and ticket prices for the Atheneaum performances, which are reduced for Friday evening, are on the Ballet Chicago Studio Company page on the BC web site:
Duell has just added some thoughts about his "Nut" production to his blog on the BC site, detailing some of its unique features:
There's some information about cast members there, especially the visitors; to that I can add, regarding the Athenaeum performances, that Olivia Schmit, whom I admired in the demi role in Rubies last May, will perform (with Ted Seymour) in two of the Snow pas de deux, alternating with Ashley Johnson and either Seymour or newcomer Rashaen Arts (from Amsterdam). Johnson, with Hamilton Nieh, will dance Sugar Plum at all four performances. And Duell modestly says nothing about this, but I feel certain that he himself will step into the role of Drosselmeyer a few times at least.
*Does this imply that only the adagio and coda are performed? I didn't mean to do that. Actually, the four-section pas de deux is performed, late in Act II after the divertissements, with the two variations choreographed largely by Duell (or Duell and Blair).
Edited by Jack Reed, 18 December 2009 - 10:04 PM.