Without a doubt, the Orlando Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is beautiful. This year’s production added a lot of sparkle including a replica of the million-dollar diamond, ruby and gold “Hope Tiara” displayed in the lobby. Most of the sets and costumes are familiar, but the dancing was fresh and remarkable for any regional company.
There are nineteen professional dancers from all over the US, Spain, England, Cuba, Japan and more. With two apprentices and the Orlando Ballet’s professional second company (OBII), the Orlando Ballet delivers a stage full of delights.
Then, not to be forgotten are the more than 50 nationally-acclaimed Orlando Ballet School’s charming and talented children and teens. They supported the cast as party friends, soldiers, mice and angels. It was delightful to watch Amaya Joseph and Rafe King battle it out as Clara and Fritz, the competing siblings, in act one on Saturday evening.
Also on Saturday, Blair Bagley impressed as Dewdrop. Her beautiful technique is usually part of the corps de ballet. And speaking of the corps, they have become the unsung star of the ballet in recent years. The rehearsal masters have molded the ensemble pieces such as “Snow” into something any company would be proud of.
On Saturday mornings the Orlando Ballet presents a family-friendly version of the ballet that is shortened to one hour. The fourth floor has child-friendly activities for their young audiences. This is a real opportunity for children of all ages to enjoy a visit to the Dr. Phillips Center.
2018 has been a remarkable year for our only local professional ballet company. There have been quite a few new faces added to the company’s talented cast. Shane Jewell came on board as the Executive Director and Robert Hill is celebrating his 10th year as Artistic Director.
Perhaps the biggest blessing has been the groundbreaking for the Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre expected to open in Loch Haven Park in early fall 2019. The ballet currently has to use five different facilities spread all over town. This facility will bring them all under one beautiful roof.
For 26 years the Orlando Ballet has offered it’s “Steps Program” to inspire 2nd and 3rd grade students from underserved communities with free ballet classes. A partnership between Nemours Children’s Hospital and Orlando Health brings a “Come Dance With Us’ program for children with special needs. The professional company actually dances with these amazing children.
As said before, the Orlando Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is a must-see holiday tradition for all of Orlando.