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Thank You and Gobble Gobble!: Things We’re Thankful

Thank YouA nice thank you note from one of our smaller ballet fans!

It’s not just the decorations in the malls or the never-ending track of Christmas tunes making it feel the holidays came way too early. Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy held its annual auditions for The Nutcracker on September 18 and 152 students have been spending their weekends since rehearsing the battle scene, learning the party dances and skipping to the music of Mother Ginger. During the day, the Company rehearsals are in full force with our new dancers learning the intricacies of the Tannenbaum’s party scene. The Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy has already wrapped up The Nutcracker Suite with two lovely performances at University Lake School in Hartland and at St. John’s on the Lake on the East Side.  Thanksgiving offers us all a much-needed chance to spend some time with our families, friends and loved ones, to breathe for a minute before the hustle and bustle of The Nutcracker season really starts… All of that said, I’m actually going to start my list of things we’re thankful for, with The Nutcracker itself… Here we go, and would you pass me the gravy please?

1. The Nutcracker – it’s a highlight of the season for a reason! Tchaikovsky’s score, Drossselmeyer’s magic, those adorable angels (with some new choreography this year!) and silly little Fritz dancing with his new toy sword – what’s not to love? If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet – do it now. 414/902-2103 or www.milwaukeeballet.org

2. A HUGE thank you to our subscribers, our donors and all of our sponsors. We started the year out with the frighteningly fun and successful Dracula and everything about it made us so palpably aware of how lucky we are to have all of YOU on our side!

3. Speaking of donors – we premiered a Nutcracker costume sponsorship drive last September and it’s paying off. Our lovely costume shop (who is thankful for the treats Head Carpenter Rick Tatum brought them yesterday!) is busy, busy, busy making 2 new Sugar Plum tutus, 1 Mother Ginger child’s costume, 2 child’s party dress, 2 new Arabian tops and 1 new pair of Arabian pants, refurbishing the mouse heads AND making a brand new Rat King head! Plus a handful of new party shoes. Fancy schmancy!

4. Live music! We all enjoy hearing the  piano music in the classroom and Company rehearsal thanks to all of our fantastic accompanists and the incredible Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. If you missed Dracula, you missed a cinematic, dramatic score that in and of itself is worthy of a standing ovation. We’ll hear them again at Nutcracker and in the spring for Peter Pan. Thank you Maestro!

5. The Student Matinee Series – This season there are three opportunities for public, private and home schooled students to attend a student matinee for $8, $10 or $12. A participating parent of a home school group just wrote to us, “It is such a blessing that Milwaukee Ballet offers this. Some children would never have the opportunity to be part of such majesty and beauty and joy were it not for this opportunity!” Tickets for The Nutcracker matinees are nearly sold out but we do still have space available for Peter Pan in the spring. Call Lori Flanigan at 414/902-2126.

6. Thank you to our School Families – this past weekend at The Nutcracker Suite performances showed how dedicated they are and not just for attending the show. School parents were instrumental in setting up the gig at University Lake School and their support is crucial to all of our success. Come to our waiting lounge any day of the week and look at the patient moms and dads (and grandmas and neighbors and friends) putting their kids’ hair up in buns, catching up on email and phone calls, reading a book or chatting amongst themselves – all while their little darlings perfect their tendus.

7. Our new studios at Riverpoint – We’re officially moved in! Wow, is it nice to have some fresh paint, new floors and bigger digs. We’re in the process of getting some gorgeous Schomer Lichtner art that was donated to us from the Kohler Foundation framed and hung and then we’ll be in a new space with bright, original art to boot. Nice.

8. The Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II dancers These young dancers have worked SO hard this season – they always do, but the older I get the more tired it makes me to think about what their day-to-day schedule is like. Beyond their own performances, they are well on their way to learning Billy’s Dancing Dairy Farm, they’ve been out in the community doing outreach, they’re busy in rehearsals for The Nutcracker and there’s only more to come. Bravo you young gorgeous things!!!

9. The dancers, both Company and MBII, are thankful for a week off. Many of them are getting the chance to fly home and see their families, some are off to the faraway reaches of Wisconsin doing guest appearances in smaller Nutcracker performances and others are just enjoying long days on the couch playing video games (I’m not joking!) Rest up!

10. Now, I have to indulge a bit here (but that seems to be part of Thanksgiving, doesn’t it?) Lori Flanigan and I would like to personally thank Michael Pink for casting us again as Grandma in The Nutcracker, and Costume Shop Manager Mary Piering for making me a new costume (last year) and all of the Company dancers – especially our Grandpas and to Nadia and Denis for rehearsing us… uh-oh, I can hear that Academy Award music telling me it’s time to go…

Now, how about some pumpkin pie? Happy Thanksgiving!

Alyson Chavez
Director of Education