The mood was intense on Wednesday at the final dress rehearsal for the Kansas City Ballet's world premier of "The Nutcracker."
After nearly two years of planning and collaboration, with artisans from all across the country, artistic director Devon Carney was finally ready to bring his new creation to the stage of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Besides stunning new costumes and dramatic sets that include a hot-air balloon, there are subtle changes as well. With this new production, Carney said he was determined to add special new roles for older children.
“When they get quote-unquote ‘too old’ to be a party girl or a soldier or a cute baby mouse, they’re left out in the proverbial cold during December because there’s no roles for them,” he said. “They are not advanced enough to be able to dance snow scene or flowers, but they’re too old for all the other roles.”
Carney's strategy is to challenge dancers at every point in their career.
“The only way we are going to grow is if dancers are pushed a little bit out there and looking over the edge going, ‘Oh can I do this?’ but they can," he said. "They always succeed.”
During the rehearsal, Carney gave occasional direction to Music Director Ramona Pansegrau, who was in the orchestra pit conducting the Kansas City Symphony.
“A ballet is meant to be a collaboration between music and dance,” said Pansegrau. “And, for me, especially in a score like this that was composed so carefully with a choreographer, it’s wonderful to be able to have that collaboration here.”
Kansas City Ballet presents “The Nutcracker,” Saturday, Dec. 3 through Dec. 24, at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-931-8993.