Holiday tradition: Sugar Plum Fairies will still shine bright as 'Nutcracker' performances go on in Brooklyn

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Monday, December 7, 2020
Brooklyn Ballet puts on live 'Nutcracker' performances amid COVID pandemic
Lauren Glassberg reports on one tradition that found a clever way to live on in Brooklyn.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- This holiday season looks very different this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but one tradition has found a clever way to live on in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Ballet dance company will perform free live performances of highlights of "The Nutcracker" -- despite theater closures.

"The Brooklyn Nutcracker in the Jewel Box" will offer audiences nine free opportunities, from December 10 to 13, to experience the production live in the company's studio-turned-jewel-box performance space from behind large glass windows.

Although the cast typically features 70 dancers, the highlights this year will include solos and small socially distant groups of dancers recreating Nutcracker dances.

"We thought we could live-stream it with just the dancers, but we never could have kept 70 cast members safe without budget -- if we were an NBA bubble we could do that," said Brooklyn Ballet founder and artistic director Lynn Parkerson

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With a strong commitment to honor and authentically represent the vibrant and multicultural history of Brooklyn, audiences will experience the African rhythms of the traditional Flamenco Spanish dancer and her "Palmeros," an authentic Middle Eastern belly dancer, afro-modern dancers, hip-hop pop 'n' lockers, and the iconic dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This year, the dancers have been rehearsing with masks and the cast won't include children. Choreography will also allow for social distancing.

"This production began nearly 10 years ago on a Brooklyn street corner with a dance collaboration between a petite ballerina and a large hip-hop dancer," Parkerson said. "It seems fitting during this most unusual year to reconnect with our community in this intimate way, back on the streets of our great borough, giving dancers a chance to dance again and offering audiences a live Nutcracker experience, cherished by so many."

Christine Sawyer performs as a Marzipan and says being on stage will be one the sweetest moments of the past nine months.

"There's so much of the holidays that people look forward to, and they're like oh the holidays are canceled, but no the holidays are not canceled, it's just going to be different this year," Sawyer said.

The company will also offer a festive "Selfie Window" dressed up for the season and dedicated to capturing the memories of the evening. There will also be a food truck and hot chocolate available for purchase.

See the performance schedule below:

-Thursday, December 10 -- 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

-Friday, December 11 -- 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

-Saturday, December 12 -- 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

-Sunday, December 13 -- 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.

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