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Nutcracker rehearsals have stepped up this week as we’ve been able to start running through the ballet on the vast Birmingham Hippodrome main stage.

Preparations still continue in the studios, however, with the dancers working regularly to maintain the stamina necessary to perform the gruelling Principal roles.

Here you can see a pair of Nutcracker rehearsal videos which we posted last week. The first shows the Sugar Plum Fairy solo danced by three of the ballerinas taking on the role this season. The second shows a short excerpt of a pas de deux between Iain Mackay and Angela Paul in the roles of the Nutcracker Prince and the heroine Clara!

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Here you can see the cover of the programme from the 1990 premiere of our production of The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome. The stunning artwork shows John F. Macfarlane’s original design for King Rat, the villain of the story. Underneath we’ve posted a pair of backstage photos showing a dancer in full rat regalia, taken last time we danced the ballet!

Some of the children dancing alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet in our imminent performances of The Nutcracker have once again been kind enough to update us on their experiences!

‘I am having an amazing time rehearsing with the company. I will remember this experience for ever. There are past students from Elmhurst in The Nutcracker. I can’t wait until this weekend when we do our first performance and I am especially looking forward to the O2 arena. It’s an experience I will never forget. I am so excited about dancing with a live orchestra as I will really be able to feel the vibrations of the music. The dancers in the company are so welcoming and really make me feel at home.

‘As Nutcracker is a story about Christmas and dreams, it’s the right time of the year to put on this ballet as we go on tour on Boxing Day. I am so excited for the dress rehearsal when I will wear my costume and make up and to feel the heat of the lights on my face and dance on the actual stage.’
Sophia

‘We have had three rehearsals so far with the Company and it has been just amazing! The experience of being with the whole Company is just fantastic, because they are professional ballet dancers and that’s just what I would love to be when I am older. You feel as if you have to be perfect all of the time and that you just can’t go wrong – because everyone is watching you and they will know!

‘I can’t wait for the performances to start this weekend – they are really coming close now and I am so excited. I’m so thrilled to be performing with a company as great as BRB!’
Francesca

We’ve posted six downloadble children’s activity sheets, all featuring characters from The Nutcracker!

Click here to take a look.

We’ve been through the archives to find promotional artwork for every year we’ve danced The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome since the premiere in 1990:

The children who are appearing in this season’s performances of The Nutcracker have already been in rehearsals for some months now, despite the Company having only returned from the Autumn tour last week. Here you can read guest posts from Hannah and Matthew, both students at Elmhurst School for Dance:

‘The rehearsals are really good fun and I think they are going very well. I love the blue dress with the ribbons on that I will be wearing. I am so excited and I am really really looking forward to all the performances! This is an amazing, fantastic and lovely experience and I am so lucky that Birmingham Royal Ballet chose me!’
Hannah

‘The anticipation of starting rehearsals with the Company and performing with them at the O2 and Birmingham Hippodrome for the second time was amazing. When I found out I was to perform in The Nutcracker my excitement was unimaginable.

‘About two weeks later we had casting auditions. I was chosen to be one of the children, there is quite a lot of dancing and acting for the part and in rehearsals you have to concentrate really hard.

‘The next time we went for rehearsals we tried on our costumes. Mine is surprisingly heavy and hot, it is a cream and blue lace shirt with light beige three-quarter-length trousers and a thick jacket to match the trousers.

‘The next rehearsal we added a lot more to what we had already done and it was in this rehearsal you realised what The Nutcracker is about. If you don’t know, The Nutcracker is a very magical ballet such as dolls, soldiers, jack-in-the-boxes and lots of other magic tricks and toys. So far the rehearsals are going really well and are really enjoyable.’
Matthew