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The Nutcracker Returns to The Bushnell with Lauren Lovette and Reimagined Second Act

Peppermints Dancers: Victoria Jaenson & Emily Silva from Ballet Theatre Company. Costume design by Pat Nurnberger. Photo by Thomas Giroir. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford-based Ballet Theatre Company will perform a holiday favorite, with a modern twist, at The Bushnell’s Belding Theater the weekend after Thanksgiving.

By Brianna Dunlap

Traditions are beautiful things. Many families start the holiday season as soon as the Thanksgiving meal is done with shopping, charitable giving, decking the halls, and spending time with loved ones.

This year, begin the holiday traditions with Ballet Theatre Company by enjoying the classic ballet, The Nutcracker.

Ballet Theatre Company’s production of The Nutcracker is showing for four performances on Thanksgiving weekend. Having nearly sold out in 2021, Ballet Theatre Company is delighted to bring back the cherished holiday ballet to The Bushnell and offer a new Sensory-Friendly Nutcracker to the slate of performances.

Lauren Lovette in The Nutcracker. Photo by Paul Kolnik. Courtesy photo

Meet the Line-up

World-renowned ballerina Lauren Lovette will return to Hartford to perform the coveted role of the Sugar Plum Fairy alongside BTC’s professional and student dancers. Now an independent and acclaimed choreographer and dancer, Lovette danced with the New York City Ballet from 2010-2021 as a principal dancer where she earned both the Janice Levin Award and the Clive Barnes Award. American Ballet Theatre Soloist, Luigi Crispino will star as her charming Cavalier. BTC also welcomes Lindsey Donnell from the Dance Theatre of Harlem to perform the Dew Drop Fairy.

Ballet Theatre Company’s resident dancers are led by Emily Silva, Victoria Jaenson, Jo-ann Burke, Naomi Langill, Gennaro Della Ragione, and James Felton, II.

A Classic, Refreshed

The Nutcracker, while always a classic, is famously adapted for the times and community in which it is being performed. Choreographer and Artistic Director Stephanie Dattellas, reimagined a vibrant new Second Act for this 130-year-old ballet. The new Act, or, The Land of the Sweets, features magical treat foods such as Madame Macaron, Captain Cappuccino, and Miss Macchiato. BTC’s Lead Costume Designer, Pat Nurnberger, is bringing the Land of the Sweets to life with her delicious designs that are featured in over seventy hand-crafted and sewn costumes.

Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) will also bring back the beloved Battle Scene, featuring Studio-860, Hartford’s professional hip-hop and breakdancing company. The dancers will perform roles of the Mouse King and Big Mice, co-choreographed by Jolet Creary and Dattellas.

“I truly believe there is something for everyone in this production. Whether you have seen The Nutcracker many times before, or it is your first time experiencing the magic of this ballet at the theater, every scene offers fun for everyone. I hope that audiences walk away awed by the dancers and eager to make this ballet a tradition here in Hartford,” said Dattellas.

Spicy Hot Chocolate. Dancers: James Felton & Jo-ann Burke from Ballet Theatre Company. Costume design by Pat Nurnberger. Photo by Thomas Giroir. Courtesy photo

New this Year, A Sensory-Friendly Ballet

To include family members with Autism and sensory sensitivities in the theater setting, BTC is offering a customized ballet experience so everyone can feel safe, comfortable, and welcome. For one performance, families and friends can gather together to enjoy The Nutcracker, together.

During The Sensory-Friendly Nutcracker, music and on-stage sounds will be lowered, low-level lighting will be maintained for the audience, and when warranted, adjustments to the production will be made to ensure everyone’s comfort.

“This is the first time our entire family will see the show, and that means more to us than I can say,” a West Hartford parent said.

BTC is working in partnership with The Bushnell’s staff and with the council from The Miracle League of Connecticut to make the entire experience possible. The Sensory-Friendly Ballet ticket purchases will be open to the public for people of all ages. Learn all of the details here.

Get Your Tickets

Performances will be held on Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. (sensory-friendly performance) and 3 p.m. at The Bushnell’s Maxwell M. & Ruth R. Belding Theater. Visit bushnell.org to purchase your tickets. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to secure yours today.

BTC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is supported in part by the State of Connecticut Office of the Arts, CT Humanities, Ron and Nancy Compton, Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman, The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation, The William & Alice Mortensen Foundation, The Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, Ahearn Family Foundation, The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation, Henry Hall Charitable Trust, The Buchalter-Breslow Family, Virtus Investment Partners, Homestead Funding Group, Connecticut Public, Laurel Graphic Design, We-Ha.com, Cricket Press, Jane Owen Public Relations, Sky Investment Group, Sharon Kim’s State Farm, Beam & Barre, and Hearst Media Group.

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