Strictly Ballet and RiverStage announce auditions for “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker!”

Strictly Ballet and RiverStage Community Theatre are proud to announce auditions for the fourth annual “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker,” to be held Saturday, August 28 from noon to 3:00 p.m. in the Strictly Ballet studio on the 2nd floor of GreenSpace Center, 815 Market St, in Lewisburg.

“There is still a lot that is up in the air,” said Amy Casimir, director of the ballet. “Of course, at the top of the list is the pandemic, and we will continue to be as safety conscious as possible. Most of our performers are below the age of 12 and so are still ineligible for vaccination. Therefore, the auditions, rehearsals and probably the performance will all be masked, and we will continue to clean carefully and work in the smallest groups possible. We were hoping that last year’s pandemic version of the Nutcracker would be a unique event, but like the rest of the world, we’re following events and responding as necessary. At the moment, that still means masks and caution.”

Because so much is unknown, the choreography and staging will be, even more than usual, decided by who shows up to audition. “I have a clear idea in mind of what I want our Nutcracker to be,” continued Casimir, “and we continue to move closer and closer to that goal each year. However, a community Nutcracker is shaped by the community, and if we get martial artists and gymnasts and not so many virtuosic ballet dancers, we will go with the Act and staging that maximizes our performers’ abilities.”

Trey Casimir, producer of the Nutcracker, added, “Last year’s audience-free performance broke even, which was an enormous accomplishment, but we barely made it. We couldn’t be prouder of the team that put on last year’s show, from our donors to our local performers to our guest artists from ABT and our partners at RiverStage. It was a heroic effort, and everyone involved understands what a special and meaningful accomplishment it was. However, we had hoped that by this point we would be able to afford to put on the whole ballet, after growing the pool of local talent to be able to pull it off. After three years of putting on the show, the local talent pool is growing nicely, but the logistical setbacks of the past year will certainly be a factor in our decisions for this year.”

Auditions will once again be scheduled to manage traffic inside and around the studio. To register for an audition slot, go to StrictlyBalletArts.com, click on “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker,” and follow the directions. This year’s performance of “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker” will be presented December 11th, but the number of performances, the acts to be performed and whether or not the performance(s) will be open to live audiences are all yet to be determined. “Ballet is all about tradition, discipline and repetition,” said Amy Casimir, in closing. “All of this uncertainty makes me extremely uncomfortable, personally, and it also makes my heart go out to these brave, open-hearted kids who want to be involved in our production. But our first obligation has to be the safety of the cast, crew and audience, and the whole world is having to figure out how to live with daily uncertainty, so we’re trying not to take it personally. As with last year’s show, making the effort to keep this tradition going is meaningful all by itself. Of course we want to put on a performance and give our performers their chance to shine, but we will play things by ear, knowing that there’s always next year, and knowing that our performers, supporters and audience will benefit from making the effort even if we end up having to pull the plug.”

For more information, go to StrictlyBalletArts on Instagram or Facebook, or StrictlyBalletArts.com.