Point your toes! Nutcracker 2017 is around the corner - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Point your toes! Nutcracker 2017 is around the corner

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MISSOULA - It’s a favorite holiday tradition.

The magic of the Nutcracker Ballet draws huge crowds every year in Missoula. Every toe pointed, every sequin in place. The annual Nutcracker Ballet is a stunning performance that involved about 110 dancers and dozens of staff.

Behind the scenes, a lot of work and sweat goes into making sure these dancers are ready.

Artistic Director Michele Antonioli sees the big picture, and the finest of details, alongside nine other choreographers.   “....on what count did you point your foot, and did you point the right foot, and were you in the right formation."

This ballet is a lifelong dream for some of these dancers as they work their way up to solo roles. Audrey Petitt, 17, is this year’s snow queen soloist.   “I’ve been doing Nutcracker for 12 years..mouse, mouse mouse…”

She says her role is intimidating, but also rewarding. “This ethereal, magical figure, like kind of human, but also like, natural and like, beautiful in that kind of way,” she said of the snow queen.

“It is kind of intimidating cuz you’re like, I don’t know if I’m good enough for this, why did they choose me, this doesn’t make sense, but it is also really special, because like even now, talking to the little girls,” she said.

The show is produced by Garden City Ballet, a non-profit production company that combines dancers and instructors from studios across the city.

“Nutcracker is an expensive undertaking for a studio to do, ad it is time-consuming. But because of Garden City Ballet, with all of the costumes and sets that they have, they provide all of that infrastructure for us, so we can just send our students to be part of their Nutcracker. It is a brilliant organization,” Antonioli said.

Antonioli estimated that the costs of the show come up to tens of thousands of dollars. To rent the theater, lights, and production company for the weekend of performances, she said it costs well over $25,000. Each tutu? Roughly $2,000, she said.

The show usually breaks even, with enough to additionally support dancers’ with scholarship money to summer camps. This unique, city-wide collaboration is building up to that opening curtain, when these dancers get to finally show off the fruits of their hard work and dedication.

The Nutcracker will be performed from Dec. 15 until Dec. 17 at the Adams Center in Missoula. 

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