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Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s ‘The Nutcracker’ goes virtual for parents

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The show must go for the Indiana Ballet Conservatory. It just won’t be in front of an audience because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in Indiana.

Four performances were originally planned to be held Dec. 19-20 with a receded capacity at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, but all in-person performances have been canceled.

IBC founding Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva-Randall made the decision to produce an in-studio, socially distanced, adapted production of “The Nutcracker” for the students. A version with each of the three casts will be recorded so that each student will have the opportunity to perform the roles they had been training hard to perform. The performances will be recorded for their parents since they can’t watch in the Carmel studio. The students will wear masks and social distance.

Yakovleva-Randall said IBC had considered a livestream, but that wasn’t feasible because of finances and the equipment required.

“The cast has changed three times, but not the Sugar Plum and Prince,” she said. “We can only have 15 people in the studio at one time.”

So, sections of the performance were recorded separately.

“It just makes sense to do the best we can right now,” Yakovleva-Randall said.

Kaitlin Casavan, a homeschooled senior from Westfield, returns as Sugar Plum Fairy for the second year.

“I love doing this part and performing it,” Casavan said. “It’s been fun and a new challenge to work on performing, even when you can’t express your emotions through touching. It’s nice being able to do the normal way and then doing it a different way. It’s something new, but it’s a challenge. Having performed the role before I kind of know how to express myself while doing the piece, so it’s a little easier without doing all the stuff we did last year.”

Casavan is glad the dancers have been able to maintain a practice schedule.

“I know a lot of people have been able to keep doing the hobbies and the activities that they love,” she said. “We would have been really behind in our training if we weren’t able to come in and work hard every day. I’m grateful we’ve taken these precautions that we do this every day.”

Abigail Kimball, a 15-year-old Fishers resident, has been with IBC for 13 years. Kimball served as Sugar Plum Fairy understudy last year and moved into the main role this year.

“It’s hard trying to do it social distanced,” Kimball said. “The choreography has gotten a lot more challenging. You can’t touch, so you have to do something that’s more interesting. There are no big, huge lifts.”

Cadence Burke, 16, moved to Carmel with her family when she was 14. Burke will be performing as Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time after being an understudy last year.

“I think everyone always wants to be Sugar Plum and I’m excited to get to perform it even if it is in the studio,” she said. “Everyone looks forward to ‘Nutcracker’ at Christmas time. A lot of schools have had to cancel ‘Nutcracker’ and that was an option for us, too, but I’m glad we decided to do the studio because I think everyone will enjoy it and it will still be beautiful and magical.”

Louis Gonzalez is from Michigan but lives with a host family in Carmel.

“This is my first time doing Cavalier (or Prince). I’ve done ‘Nutcracker’ before, but I’ve never done this huge main role before, so I’m super excited,” Gonzalez said. “I’m glad we get to show what we’ve been working on. It would be ideal to do it on stage, but with everything we get to still perform.”

In his third year at IBC, Ian Anderson-Conlon, originally from Madison, Wis., was an understudy in the Cavalier role the previous two years and now plays the lead.

“It will be amazing, even if we can’t touch each other or do lifts,” Anderson-Conlon said. “But the music is enjoyable, so it will still be a lot of fun.”

For more, visit indianaballetconservatory.org


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