Founded in 1974, Orlando Ballet is Central Florida’s only fully residential professional ballet company. On top of producing world class stage productions, they also promote dance education and training through the Orlando Ballet School and Orlando Ballet II. As part the ballet’s 50th anniversary, artistic director Jorden Morris and a world-renowned creative team spent three years reimagining this from-scratch, Broadway-caliber production of The Nutcracker. Mr. Morris was kind enough to chat with us about the upcoming production.
The Nutcracker has been a keystone of the Orlando Ballet for many years. What makes it such a special part of the Orlando Ballet’s repertoire?
The Nutcracker started over 30 years ago as part of Orlando Ballet’s season! What makes The Nutcracker special is that it is such a beautiful story of Christmas, dreams and adventures. The fairy tale-type setting is universal and appealing to “children” of all ages.
As part of the Orlando Ballet’s 50th Anniversary, you conceived and choreographed a completely original version of The Nutcracker. How will it differ from past performances?
The new version of The Nutcracker will not differ so much in story, but more in the interpretation of the original story. The addition of puppets, marionettes and life-size snow globes are just a few of the reimagined elements to support the story.
What’s it like to prepare for a from-scratch production of this scale?
The preparation of the new production started three years ago, with concept / storyboarding / script development and set / costume / lighting design. It is a massive undertaking and takes several teams working together to bring it all to fruition.
Why do you think The Nutcracker has become such an enduring tradition for families across the world?
I think the worldwide success of The Nutcracker is in large part due to the wonderful story written by E.T.A Hoffman and then softened by Alexandre Dumas. The characters, the adventure, the sense of magic and imagination are appealing at the best of times – at Christmas, I believe we all want to celebrate the magic of dreams and imagination.
This production is sure to inspire an interest in ballet and theater in young people. What would you say to them and how can they get involved?
I would say to young people who want to get involved in ballet theatre to follow their inspirations – if clothing and fashion appeal to you, look into costume design – if light and the way it can transform a stage or scene appeals to you, then follow that pathway. If you like building things and constructing models/ doll houses etc, then look into scenic arts – if music moves you, go there – if dance and movement inspire you follow that. The human imagination and creative mind are beautiful tools that enrich and color our culture – the world needs art and artists. In an effort to ensure our community can experience this one-of-a-kind production, Orange County Library System has partnered with Orlando Ballet to provide free access for library card holders to select ballet performances through the Local Wanderer culture pass program.
Visit ocls.info/wander to learn more.
Artwork by Costume & Set Designer Robert Perdziola