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The Nutcracker 2013

The holiday tradition returns with more spectacle, more magic… and more “Muttcrackers”

By Eddie Torres

Fort Wayne Reader


“People look at The Nutcracker as part of the holiday season,” says Karen Gibbons-Brown, Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Ballet. “It’s a tradition, and it’s a big production. You’ve got the visual of the costumes and the music with a live orchestra. I like to think that if people don’t like dance — or think they don’t like dance — they’ve at least enjoyed the theater experience.”

Indeed, Fort Wayne Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is always a spectacle for the eyes and ears, and the dancers on stage and the people behind the scenes give it their all to get every detail right for Clara’s trip through the land of sweets and all around the world.

The 2013 edition of The Nutcracker begins its run on Friday, December 6, the first of nine evening and matinee performances this season.

The Ballet continues its longtime collaboration with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir for several of the performances.

Though The Nutcracker’s status as a holiday tradition is undisputed, that hardly means it stays the same each and every year. The FWB always tries to add something new and different to the production every year. “The story is the same, or the intent of the storyline is always the same,” Gibbons-Brown says. “The Nutcracker is a ballet designed for children, with children playing children’s parts. But we always have some new choreography, some new set designs and changes, new ‘spectacle,’ and the guest dancers always add a different dynamic and help inspire our own dancers.”

For the fourth year in a row, the Ballet has partnered with Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control. Two dogs will be available for adoption at each performance of The Nutcracker. The dogs make their entrance during the famous Christmas party scene at the beginning, walked by their owners — well, their stage owners, to be exact — through the scene. During intermission, the dogs will be out in the lobby, and folks from Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control will be on hand to answer any questions and provide information on adopting these or any other animals. Families interested in adoption can begin the process right there (and people are also encouraged to visit the wide array of other adoptable pets at the shelter located on Hillegas Road).

Sugar Plum Parties will immediately follow all afternoon performances. At the parties, guests can enjoy sweets as they meet Clara and her friends, get autographs and take pictures with select members of The Nutcracker cast.

In addition to the nine regular performances, there will be four performances presented specifically for area school groups. These special In-Theatre performances provide area schools, home school families, and local social agencies an opportunity to experience the art of dance in a way they never have before. While Fort Wayne Ballet visits schools to present small performances and demonstrations to students, most children rarely get the opportunity to attend a performance in a big theatre. The school performances are, of course, fun and educational, but the theatre adds that special element of magic that can sometimes be missing.

Along with the actual performances, attendees are also invited to meet the dancers who present docent materials, costumes, and all the special dance shoes. The students and visitors’ experience concludes with a Q&A with the dancers. Fort Wayne Ballet prides itself on reaching over 3,000 community students with the In-Theatre performances each year.


All performances are held at Arts United Center, 303 East Main Street in downtown Fort Wayne.

Friday, December 6 @ 7 PM * (with Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Children’s Choir)

Saturday, December 7 @ 2:30 PM* (with Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Children’s Choir)

December 7 @ 8 PM * (with Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Children’s Choir)
Sunday December 8 @ 2:30 PM

Tuesday, December 10 @ 7 PM
Friday, December 13 @ 8 PM
Saturday, December 14 @ 2:30 PM
Saturday, December 14 @ 8 PM
Sunday, December 15 @ 2:30 PM

Tickets for all 9 performances and the Sugar Plum Parties are available by calling the Arts United Center box office at 260-422-4226.

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