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New Nutcracker - Behind The Scenes Discussion

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Around 40 guests from the Smithsonian Resident Associates program joined Septime Webre and company members, at the Wisconsin Ave. studios last night, for a first look at the WB's new Nutcracker. This was the first in a 4-part lecture series run by the Smithsonian in cooperation with Washington Ballet.

The evening started off when Septime invited the group onto his rehearsal floor and led us in a mime sequence (we are still waiting for the callbacks :wink:)

Costumer Judanna Lynn showed her fabulous designs and some spectacular new costumes, then Principal Morgann Rose and Studio Company dancers segued into a working rehearsal of one of the divertissements. It was fascinating to watch Septime and the dancers working the creative process, including different variants (not yet finally set) of one passage.

The evening concluded with audience Q&A after a far-ranging talk by Septime about various aspects of the production. A few items I remember are that the total Nut budget is about $1.4 million (which came from a special donor campaign, not from the WB operating budget); that the new Nut is expected to return $1.5 million in revenue per year to the company; the total casting is 340 dancers (yes, 340, that is not a misprint) divided into three separate casts; with performances in Baltimore as well as D.C.

Washington Ballet has always given great outreach, and with programs like this it keeps getting better and better. "Behind the Scenes" continues next month with observations of a working rehearsal in November and a technical rehearsal in December, followed by a backstage tour + performance on Dec. 16.

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