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Levels 1-5 - you are invited to join our 2021 Nutcracker cast!


In past years your Nutcracker sign-up occurred in the spring, when you enrolled for classes. This year we are doing Nutcracker sign-up during Orientation Kick-Off Week. IF YOU ARE IN LEVELS 1-5 YOU ARE NOT YET SIGNED UP FOR THE NUTCRACKER!! Please read through the following information and then follow the link at the bottom to sign-up.

The 2021 Project Ballet Nutcracker will be performed at the Embassy Theatre, downtown Fort Wayne. There will be two casts. One cast will perform on Saturday, December 4 at 2pm and 7pm. The other cast will perform on Sunday, December 5 at 1pm and 6pm.



Dancers in Levels 1-5 must enroll online to indicate their commitment to performing in the 2021 Nutcracker. Simply being a member of the Training Program does not reserve your spot as a cast member. You must enroll online, and pay the performance participation fee, in order to become a member of the cast. Nutcracker registration is open from August 29 through September 6 for Training Program dancers. (Preparatory dancers will enroll later in September.)


Levels 1 & 2 - Performing in the Nutcracker is entirely optional. We would absolutely love for you to join the cast if your schedule allows. Most of our Level 1 & 2 dancers do choose to participate. 


Level 3 - As part of their training, Level 3 dancers must perform once per year, either in the Nutcracker or the Spring Concert (or both). Keep in mind that if you choose to not participate in the Nutcracker, you will be required to participate in the Spring Concert.


Level 4 - As part of their training, Level 4 dancers must perform twice per year, in the Nutcracker, Variations Showcase or Spring Concert. (In some cases Level 4 dancers will also be invited to participate as a dancer or staff member in the Student Choreography Showcase, and the SCS can also count towards fulfilling this requirement. Please keep in mind that if you choose NOT to participate in the Nutcracker, you will need to fulfill your two performance requirement during the second semester.


Level 5 - As part of their training, Level 5 dancers must perform three times per year, in the Nutcracker, Student Choreography Showcase, Variations Showcase or Spring Concert. Please keep in mind that if you choose NOT to participate in the Nutcracker, you will need to participate in all three second semester performances.



Participating in the Nutcracker is $125. This participation fee covers the cost of rehearsals and backstage staffing, etc. You will need to make a minimum $50 deposit towards this fee when you sign-up to be a cast member. Please note that the $125 fee is non-refundable even if your dancer changes their mind and decides not to participate. Please make sure your child is committed before signing up.



September 8, 9, 11 - Auditions for featured roles (Levels 4+)

September 13-18 - Casting period, no rehearsals. Casting will be posted no later than September 18.

September 20 - Rehearsals start for Levels 4+

October 2 - Rehearsals start for Levels 1-3

October 30 - Fall Break, no rehearsals

November 20 - In-studio dress rehearsal all day

November 22, 23 - Cast member photo days

November 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 - Thanksgiving Break, no rehearsals

December 2 - Sunday Cast Dress Rehearsal at the Embassy Theatre

December 3 - Saturday Cast Dress Rehearsal at the Embassy Theatre

December 4 - Saturday Cast performances at 2pm and 7pm

December 5 - Sunday Cast performances at 1pm and 6pm 



Performance roles are assigned based on many factors including ability, previous experience, level and age. Height and clothing size are also factors for certain roles, due to costuming restrictions. Roles are determined by the Artistic Director, with significant input from the faculty. It is expected that students will accept their assigned role(s) with grace. All roles, no matter how small, are critical to the production as a whole. Poor attitude or complaining about casting will impact future roles. Please note that many "male" roles in the Nutcracker are assigned to female students, such as soldiers, party boys, Russian boys, etc. Please prepare your child that they may be playing a gender neutral or "male" role.



There are two Nutcracker casts, called the "Saturday Cast" (who perform twice on Saturday, December 4) and the "Sunday Cast" (who perform twice on Sunday, December 5). Dancers in Levels 1-3 will be assigned to one cast. Dancers in Levels 4 and up will be assigned roles in both casts. 



Students in Level 4+ will begin rehearsals as early as September 20, 2021 and rehearsals will continue through December 3, 2021. Rehearsals may be scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:45pm, and on Saturdays from 12:00-5:00pm. As the performance nears, featured dancers may also be called to rehearsals from time-to-time on Tuesdays and Fridays. There are two scheduled breaks from October 29-31 and November 24-28. Aside from these two scheduled breaks, all rehearsals are mandatory. 



Students in 1-3  will begin rehearsals as early as October 2, 2021 and rehearsals will continue through December 3, 2021. Rehearsals will be scheduled on Saturdays between 12:00-5:00pm. Students will not have rehearsal for the full five hours, but parents should be prepared for rehearsal to be scheduled at any time between 12:00-5:00pm on Saturday afternoons. There are two scheduled breaks on October 30 and November 27 when students will not have rehearsal. Aside from these two scheduled breaks, all rehearsals are mandatory.



The rehearsal schedule is posted on the PB web calendar ( each Sunday for the coming week. Rehearsal times will not necessarily be consistent from week-to-week, and it is critical that all cast members log in on Sunday to double check their rehearsal times for the week. Rehearsals are generally called by role, rather than student name, such as "Little Mice" or "Russian'.



Whenever possible, ill or quarantined students should join their rehearsal remotely, via Zoom, when ill or in quarantine. They may either participate from home or simply observe, as their health allows. So long as the absent/quarantined student is present via Zoom, they will not be considered absent and will be fulfilling their rehearsal attendance requirement. Obviously, in situations of serious illness where the student is too ill to observe their rehearsal via Zoom, they will be excused from the rehearsal obligation. Our staff will make every possible effort to catch up those students who have been ill or quarantined. Often this will require the additional cost of private lessons, especially in the case of extended absence periods. However, it is important to be aware that despite the staff's best efforts there may be certain situations where an absence, even due to illness or quarantine, may result in the student having to be dismissed from the cast. Absolutely every effort will be made to avoid this situation. 



At the time of your Nutcracker enrollment, your family may request permission for a special absence exception. While all rehearsals are mandatory, we can sometimes make an exception, with advance notice, for situations such as an out-of-town wedding of a close family member.  The staff and Artistic Director will consider your request and if the absence can be accomodated, your enrollment will be processed. If we cannot honor your request, you will be given the option to withdraw from the performance without financial penalty. We will only accept requests in advance, during the enrollment window. Also, please note that due to the volume of requests and the enormity of putting on a production of this magnitude, we cannot guarantee that your request will be granted and you may need to make a decision between forgoing participation in the Nutcracker, or forgoing your family event.



Students who are injured and unable to dance may observe their rehearsal to meet their attendance requirement. However, at times dancers may have to be dismissed from the cast due to injury, particularly when an injury would take the dancer out of commission for the majority of the rehearsal period.



Students who are habitually tardy to rehearsals will be required to schedule a private lesson to make-up the rehearsal time they missed. Private lessons are an additional cost.



Dancers must provide their own tights, shoes, leotards, earrings and undergarments for performances. The required items will vary depending on your dancer's role, and will likely be different from what your child wears for their ballet classes. A costume supply list will be provided in October and all supplies must be purchased and ready for use at the first dress rehearsal on November 20. There is a $25 penalty if dancers show up to dress rehearsals or performances unprepared without their required supplies. 



Project Ballet owns and provides all costumes and costume pieces. Cast members must show respect and care for their assigned costume. Dancers may never eat or drink in costume (with the exception of water), may not throw costumes on the floor, and are expected to help return their costume to it's hanger or storage place after rehearsals and performances. Negligence or disrespect that results in damage to the costume will result in a fine equal to the cost of repair or replacement. 



There will be an opportunity to purchase professional photos of your child in costume, and to purchase a Blu Ray DVD of the performance from third party vendors. There will also be the opportunity to purchase items such as a cast member t-shirt, flower bouquets, and box lunches. All of these costs are optional.  



The Nutcracker is performed at the Embassy Theatre, which is a Ticketmaster venue. Project Ballet sets our ticket prices based on the revenue needed to support our production costs and related operational costs. The Embassy and Ticketmaster then add on facility and ticketing fees. You can avoid paying some of the fees by purchasing your tickets in person at the Embassy Box Office rather than online. As of August 2021, Project Ballet intends to set our ticket price levels between $18-35. (However, if the Embassy's Covid policies end up severely restricting our potential ticket sales, we may have to increase ticket prices to cover costs.)



If your dancer needs to withdraw from the performance, for any reason (including relocation or scheduling conflicts that prevent your child from meeting the attendance requirement), their performance participation fee will not be refunded. If they withdraw from the performance after rehearsals have started you will also be charged an additional $50 withdraw penalty. Exceptions are granted for cases of serious illness or injury, documented with a doctor's note.

We just want to reiterate one more time that committing to the Nutcracker means that you are committing to rehearsals EVERY Saturday. Levels 4+ begin their rehearsals as early as September 20. Levels 1-3 begin their rehearsals as early as October 2. There is no rehearsal the weekend of Halloween (October 29-31) and the weekend of Thanksgiving (November 24-28). Please schedule special trips or other family events that you would like your dancer to attend on those two weekends! We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can by giving you these two weekends off.


 IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO MAKE A COMMITMENT TO BE AVAILABLE ON SATURDAY AFTERNOONS YOU CANNOT BE A MEMBER OF THE CAST. Please weigh your decision carefully. It is a big commitment, but it is also so much fun, an amazing learning experience, incredibly rewarding and the best annual holiday tradition!