Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Indianapolis School of Ballet's Nutcracker

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Behind the Ballet…

            Something magical happens when the curtain rises on more than 80 dancers performing in the 7th annual production of The Nutcracker at the historic Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater. Whether awed by the exquisite handmade costumes, or mesmerized by the Christmas tree that grows over 20 feet, audience members all feel transported into a fairyland once the curtain rises.

            Although the production appears beautifully effortless, it takes untold hours and meticulous work by many helping hands behind the scenes. Beautiful scenery by master scenic artist and designer C. David Higgins recreates the historic Morris-Butler House, an Indiana Landmarks museum house. Exquisite hand-made costumes by Loukia Finale, former seamstress in Oscar de la Renta’s Manhattan atelier and costumer for the Piraeus Theater in Greece, transport you to another time and place. Barrymore Award-winning designer James Leitner crafts the production’s lighting and design. Ballroom dancers from Indianapolis-based Riolo Dance portray the adult partygoers in the first scene as part of an ongoing professional collaboration between Lyras and Marie Riolo Roach. And of course you can’t forget the choreography!

            Artistic Director Victoria Lyras and more than 80 dancers rehearse over several hours a week starting in September each year. Every step is perfected, including preparing Balanchine’s famous Act Two Grand Pas de Deux ©, a piece of choreography Ms. Lyras has been honored with staging on behalf of the George Balanchine Trust. ISB is the only pre-professional school in Indiana to receive permission from the Balanchine Trust to perform this Pas de Deux. It is the same Pas de Deux performed by New York City Ballet in their Nutcracker production.

About Indianapolis School of Ballet…

            ISB’s faculty includes teacher and chorographer Victoria Lyras, who at age 17 was selected first hand by Barbara Weisberger for the Pennsylvania Ballet where she rose through the ranks to soloist and principal dancer. Ms. Lyras founded the School in 2006 with 9 students, since the school has grown to over 200 students annually. Over 20 performances are produced each year, including two main stage productions.

For the 2013/2014 season ISB will also present the world premiere Carnival of the Animals. Hometown hero Travis DiNicola will provide animated narration to Camille Saint-Saens’ 1886 orchestral masterpiece, Carnival of the Animals. The animals take over the Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater May 17-18. Visit for tickets and more information. The Indianapolis School of Ballet advances professional ballet and dance education in our community through world-class training and dynamic performances. Enrollment is ongoing!  

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