The humorous six-minute video titled “Nutcracker Characters — Getting By in 2020″ was made by Dayton Ballet wardrobe supervisor Lyn Baudendistel and her husband, Tommy. Here, the Snow Queen works at Ghostlight Coffee. CONTRIBUTED
ON THE ARTS | Dec 30, 2020
By Meredith Moss, Staff Writer
Pair of videos, one a retrospective and the other just downright fun, available to view
When it became clear that live audiences would not be watching little Clara and her beloved Nutcracker Prince on stage this holiday season, ballet companies around the country got busy, determined to make the magic happen virtually.
The iconic ballet, adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, has become a Christmas classic throughout the world.
Among those re-imagining the holiday treat were talented folks from the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. As a result of their creative efforts, audiences can continue to enjoy the beloved score and colorful ballet from the comfort of their own homes.
Photos from the 2000 production of The Nutcracker are featured in the new DPAA streaming video. CONTRIBUTED
The streaming “Nutcracker” video, created by Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Neal Gittleman and Dayton Ballet artistic director Karen Russo Burke, is a labor of love. Accompanying the beautiful music are more than a thousand photos of the Dayton Ballet’s “Nutcracker” performances taken over the past 25 years. For Miami Valley families who have been involved with the production, the video will bring back wonderful memories.
“The ballet has large notebooks that contain hundreds of photographs for each ballet season going back to the year 2000,” explains Burke. “Before that, there were slides and negatives I had to have made into pictures. Because there were three different ‘Nutcracker’ productions to represent, I needed to try and get equal amounts of photos from each.”
The project took months to create. While Russo was choosing the photos that would best tell each part of the story, Gittleman worked on the audio, using the DPO’s archival broadcast from December 2016.
This photo from the 2011 Dayton Ballet production of The Nutcracker is one of more than a thousand historic photos featured in a new DPAA video. CONTRIBUTED
“Once it was time to start assembling the video, I really treated the stream like a traditional animation project,” he explains. “For each of the 15 segments I laid down the music track first, then placed the pictures to the music. It’s not dance as we normally expect, but it’s pictures of dancers dancing and, in a way, the pictures ‘dance’ to the music.”
Burke says she was emotional on the night the video premiered online. “It was supposed to be the opening night of our ‘Nutcracker’ run this season,” says Burke, whose husband, Dermot Burke, choreographed “The Nutcracker” when he led the company as artistic director. “It filled my heart seeing so many faces from the past that Dermot and I have worked with over the years. To be able to bring the joy of ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet to so many people is truly an honor.”
The Nutcracker works at Mudlick’s in the “Nutcracker Characters — Getting By in 2020″ video, which was made by Dayton Ballet wardrobe supervisor Lyn Baudendistel and her husband, Tommy. CONTRIBUTED
Nutcracker characters get jobs in Dayton
You’re sure to chuckle while watching the clever video created by Dayton Ballet wardrobe mistress, Lyn Baudendistel, and her husband, Tommy. In their six-minute caper entitled “Nutcracker Characters — Getting By in 2020,″ the ballet’s iconic characters are forced to get “regular” jobs in and around downtown Dayton.
Baudendistel says the idea for the video originated when she and her husband were in the car one day eating at a root beer stand during the lockdown. She’d been fretting about the Dayton Ballet dancers — what they were doing and how they’d be making ends meet during the pandemic.
The couple couldn’t stop laughing when they envisioned a toy soldier marching back and forth across someone’s yard behind a lawn mower, trying to make a buck.
“Then we started inventing jobs for the rest of the characters and it grew from there,” says Lyn, who created Christmas videos with her husband when their children were young. “We didn’t have to look too far, as most of the full-time dancers already have other part-time jobs or take classes.”
Drosselmeyer does his magic in Dorothy Lane Market’s floral department. CONTRIBUTED
In their imaginative video, you’ll see the Snow Queen working at Ghostlight Coffee, Drosselmeyer creating his magic in Dorothy Lane Market’s floral department and Sugar Plum heading for the classroom as a student at the University of Dayton.
Dancer Miranda Dafoe, who played the role of Nutcracker on stage last year, had worked at Mudlick Tap House, so in the new video, the Nutcracker is working at Mudlick’s. The Cook is there, too — serving beer. Rat King tries making cheese pizzas at South Park Tavern.
“The most fun we had was trying to figure out what the Rat King might be able to do — or not,” says Baudendistel. “Every time we thought of a job for him, we thought, ‘no, no one wants to see a rat doing that … unless it’s taking out the trash.’”
Dafoe says she and the other dancers had a lot of fun making the video. “Lyn came to us with the idea and we all jumped at the opportunity to revisit these characters in a new way,” she says. “It has been a tough year, so we thought this video was a perfect way to lift the spirits of our incredible community.”
Rat King tries making cheese pizzas at South Park Tavern in the humorous six-minute video titled “Nutcracker Characters — Getting By in 2020.″ It’s available to view free of charge on the DPAA website. CONTRIBUTED
HOW TO WATCH
What: The DPAA Virtual Stream, “25 Years of The Nutcracker: A Dayton Ballet Retrospective” featuring the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and historic production photos.