Thursday, October 22, 2020, submitted by Michelle McGrath
67 dancers captured performing outdoors in 11 locations across 4 South Shore communities!
Recognizing that its annual holiday live production of The Nutcracker would be impossible to achieve under the current pandemic’s safety protocols, South Shore Ballet Theatre (SSBT) donned its tiaras and leapt into action early in September. Martha van McKeon, SSBT founder and Artistic Director, assembled a support team and organized the studio’s dancers, each conjuring sugar plum dreams of bringing the quintessential holiday ballet classic safely to the homes of their fans on the South Shore.
“The effects of COVID-19 on the performing arts industry are profound,” notes McKeon. “But the holidays will gratefully still arrive, and families will long for the nostalgia inspired by this beloved ballet, so the show must go on. We have created a captivating live story film to satisfy the essence of this holiday tradition for adults and children alike. The performing arts centers may be vacant, but this story lives on in our hearts and vision.”
Over the last two months, filmmakers Derek Taylor and Liam Fitzpatrick collaborated with South Shore Ballet Theatre to create other-worldly scenes across the South Shore landscape. Focused on scenes from The Nutcracker, a schedule was created to film dancers in celebrated costume among the beautiful vistas of some of the region’s most recognized outdoor locations, welcomed by many supportive businesses and organizations.
The pandemic has been anything but ordinary for South Shore Ballet Theatre, as with most arts organizations. Social distancing protocols have limited the number of students for in-person classes, a challenge that has been met with all classes being offered, both virtually and in-person. Across the arts industry, reliable sources of revenue are greatly reduced with the sudden halt to performances, and this alternate version of The Nutcracker is no different: “This production is traditionally one of our largest income generators of the year. We rely on the ticket sales to fund our many other initiatives. To eliminate it completely would exacerbate our budget constraints. We are working hard to keep ballet alive and consider this production and our innovative programs as a bridge back to normalcy,” said McKeon.
“It has been a wonderful process,” shares McKeon. “Every conversation with local business owners and boards of trustees inspires the leadership of our region to step up and support the arts. Without their support, we could not have recreated this holiday tradition in a pandemic.” The need to navigate weather and wind, with ballerinas dancing outdoors, sometimes on gravel or concrete, is not stereotypical of a Nutcracker production, but none of these obstacles interfered with SSBT’s vision. The final footage for the production is scheduled to be shot on October 25, with barely a month’s time to navigate editing and production before its premiere in early December.
South Shore Ballet Theatre’s full-length production of The Nutcracker has celebrated the magic of the holidays on the South Shore for more than 12 years. This year’s filmed version still captures the enchantment of the story, with Clara exploring the world of magic from her family’s living room on Christmas Eve through an enchanted forest of dancing snowflakes and into the magical Land of The Sweets, led by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The production runs for about an hour and features 67 student dancers representing communities from across the South Shore.
Online showings of The Nutcracker film are available throughout the month of December. Tickets start at $20 per person and range to $30, available on select dates between December 4 and 23. For a full streaming performance schedule and to purchase tickets, visit buy.tututix.com/southshoreballettheatre. A link to the performance feed will be provided upon purchase, and can be viewed on a computer, hand-held device or cast to a television screen or monitor. Tickets allow 24-hour access to the film showing online during the selected date of purchase, and can be accessed from any device with streaming capability from locations that have a reliable Internet connection.
Tickets are available for purchase starting November 15.
In addition, private VIP studio rental watch party group tickets, including concessions for $275, limited to 10 guests maximum (pandemic safety protocols apply), available on select Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons between December 5 and 20. School group tickets are available at for $25 for individuals, with $5 of each ticket supporting the host school community’s local education fund, showing opportunities available upon request.
South Shore Ballet Theatre gratefully thanks the leadership of Soule Nash Gardens and The King Caesar House, French Memories, Millbrook Farms, and The Oysterman, all in Duxbury; St. Paul’s Church, Hingham Community Center, Carolann’s, Whitney Gordon’s Jewelers, Bloomy Rind, Maggie’s Dog House and Hingham Bathing Beach in Hingham, The Norris Reservation in Norwell and Bia Bistro, Atlantica and Old Salt House in Cohasset, for the generous use of their grounds and properties for the filming of this production.
Founded in 2008, South Shore Ballet Theatre is a pre-professional ballet school with world class faculty, training tomorrow’s dancers today! SSBT follows American Ballet Theatre's (ABT®) National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough eight-level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. The National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest-quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels.
To make a donation or for more information about South Shore Ballet Theatre, its programs, tuition and performances, visit southshoreballettheatre.com, call 781-312-7224, or follow South Shore Ballet Theatre on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.