Owensboro Dance Theatre has learned a lot about creative ways to allow its performances to hit the stage through the pandemic. Bringing in two casts of extras for the two school and full performances was a positive change that has continued with the upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. Performing a matinee was another.
Two school performances will be shown Dec. 2 and 3 and will lead up to the two full performances on the weekend — Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 3 p.m.
With close to 200 dancers including guest artists, rehearsals have been in full swing for a couple of months, and tech week at the RiverPark Center begins this week.
ODT company dancer and Breckenridge County high school senior Reese DeHaven said that her favorite role of the five she will be dancing is Dew Drop, a lead in one of the ballet numbers.
“I love to be on pointe,” she said. “It allows me to use extensions … and I love wearing a tutu.”
DeHaven will wear a tutu as the Rat Queen and the Sugar Plum fairy in the two school performances, a role coveted by many company members.
To allow for area students to attend performances safely and with transportation issues that continue to plague schools, performances will be on the Thursday and Friday of the week, instead of two in one day. This also allows for seating to be podded by the school, said ODT Executive Director Joy Johnson.
“Kids love to see the show and are so glad to be out and excited about it,” she said of the feedback she has already received about allowing two performances. “For some, this will be their first time attending a show at the RiverPark Center.”
Assistant Artistic Director Natalie Lopez said that the dancers also feed off the students’ energy who attend the school performances because they are so verbal and reactive of the dancers and even the humor that the clowns add to the performance.
“The dancers are motivated by the audience, and it helps our dancers,” she said.
This year’s performance, which is the second one due to the rescheduled 2020 season, boasts a new Drosselmeyer and a new-to-Owensboro Sugar Plum Prince, who is Brazilian. Loren Yonts — who many of the performers recognize as the community’s D.A.R.E. officer — will play the role of Mother Ginger.
If interested in attending one of the performances or inquiring about the school performances, contact the RiverPark Center box office at 270-687-2787.