Sophomore Sofia Pomeroy has been dancing for over twelve years, practicing ballet, jazz, modern, character and flamenco. For the past eight years, however, Pomeroy has leaped onto a brightly lit stage and pliéd in front of Kansas City. She has participated in the renowned performances of The Nutcracker, put on annually by The Kansas City Ballet Company.
Every holiday season, 24 performances of The Nutcracker nearly sell out the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, a somewhat new addition to KC’s skyline in 2011. The classical ballet has been put on for over 30 years now, everytime with two full casts of student dancers and six casts of paid company dancers.
The Nutcracker’s plotline is one that is well-known, being a supreme holiday classic. Clara, the main character, goes on a journey into a dream-like world where she meets with a series of magical characters and lands.
Pomeroy has participated in the ballet as several different parts, ranging from an angel to a mouse to a party scene girl. This present year however, Pomeroy is one of eight dancers in the Russian scene, a newly introduced part to the ballet.
The Russian dance is not the only addition to The Nutcracker. The whole show was recently redone in hope of transforming the old way into a more modern and exciting show.
“I very much wanted a production that would be highly entertaining to our Kansas City audiences,” said Devon Carney, the director of this year’s The Nutcracker.
Carney choreographed the entire new show since the dances have not been changed for around 30 years. Not only has the dynamic of the actual ballet been changed, but new costumes, lighting, sets and props have been added to the ballet.
“I wanted the show to be full of exciting moments, with vibrant color and exceptional three-dimensionality within the sets and costumes,” said Carney.
New technology has helped the reproduction, such as offering LED technology and automated lighting. This helps with cues and gives an almost limitless effort to lighting the stage.
The new production of the play called for even more rehearsals than previous years. Starting in September, students of KC Ballet and company dancers started learning their new steps taught by Carney himself.
Non-frayed costumes, rather than the aged costumes that were older than Pomeroy herself, were fitted to each dancer. This allowed dress rehearsals to start. They were held every weekend for more hours than in the past.
“It has taken up a lot of my time because of the redone version, but it is worth it in the end because of how exciting the new Nutcracker is,” Pomeroy said.
This year had around six or seven dress rehearsals and the past years had only two, but the extra practice was needed. The goal was to smooth out the new choreography and adapt to the massive amount of changes.
The ballet debuted Dec. 5, drawing in hundreds of balletomanes, ballet enthusiasts, to the Kauffman Center.
“The opening night was so fun but also nervewracking because we had to get it just right in order to really wow the audience and the critics,” Pomeroy said.
The last of the performances is on Dec. 24 and the audiences are expected to be fully immersed into the new experience of The Nutcracker.
“There are certainly some very exciting moments within the show, which will have lasting memories for children and adults alike,” said Carney.