The Nutcracker is on the verge of defeat at the hands of the Mouse King in this December 2019 photo. This year would have been the 13th consecutive year Juneau Dance Theatre staged a full performance of the famous ballet, but it has been canceled because of the pandemic.(Courtesy Photo / Juneau Dance Theatre)

The Nutcracker is on the verge of defeat at the hands of the Mouse King in this December 2019 photo. This year would have been the 13th consecutive year Juneau Dance Theatre staged a full performance of the famous ballet, but it has been canceled because of the pandemic.(Courtesy Photo / Juneau Dance Theatre)

Annual ballet performances canceled

A digital alternative is in the works.

Performances of “The Nutcracker” slated for early December have been canceled, Juneau’s nonprofit dance school announced.

The cancellation of the long-running holiday staple is an unsurprising casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, Juneau Dance Theatre said in a news release.

“With a 100-plus cast and crew members, and audience topping 3,000, the fate of our production was not hard to predict,” said Juneau Dance Theatre Executive Director, Bridget Lujan in a news release. “We were hopeful, yet realistic in evaluating various possibilities and modifications, but unfortunately, it just can’t happen right now. We have to keep our students, faculty, patrons and volunteers safe.”

[Juneau Dance Theatre freshens up a classic]

This year would have marked the dance theater’s 13th consecutive year performing the full-length ballet. Prior to that, the organization presented Act 2 for several years, until receiving a grant in 2008 to purchase costumes and scenery to add Act 1’s party scene.

This is the second public performance the organization has had to cancel; their Spring Showcase was to take place in late April.

The cancellation will allow Juneau Dance Theatre’s artistic faculty to work with students on a project titled “The Nutcracker Suite Sweets.”

All ballet classes in the school will learn and rehearse excerpts from “The Nutcracker” or original Nutcracker-themed dances. Performances will be filmed without an audience, compiled and released for digital viewing, according to the dance theater.

The performances will be free to watch, but donations will be accepted.

Lauryn Campos and Ty Yamaoka dance “Coffee” during Act 2 of “The Nutcracker” during a December 2019 performance. (Courtesy Photo / Juneau Dance Theatre)

Lauryn Campos and Ty Yamaoka dance “Coffee” during Act 2 of “The Nutcracker” during a December 2019 performance. (Courtesy Photo / Juneau Dance Theatre)

“We want to create a performance opportunity for our hard-working students, while celebrating Tchaikovsky’s beautiful, classical score, and the tradition of ‘The Nutcracker,’” said artistic director Zachary Hench in a news release. “Performing ‘The Nutcracker’ is a highlight for our students of all ages, and our gift to the community each year. We were determined to find a safe, affordable way to keep the spirit of ‘The Nutcracker’ alive. We think this will be a fun project for our students.”

• Contact the Juneau Empire newsroom at (907)308-4895.

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