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Welcome to Nutcracker 2023!

Hello BBT families! Welcome to Benicia Ballet Theatre's 2023 production of The Nutcracker. My name is Frances, or Ms Frances as the dancers call me, and the Associate Artistic Director of Benicia Ballet Theatre. On behalf of Teresa Taylor– Artistic Director, the Board of Directors, and all the artistic staff, Welcome! We are so excited you are participating and look forward to working with you all. Whether you are “seasoned pros” or this is your family’s first Nutcracker, it can be overwhelming, please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions you may have. In the meantime please read the information below, hopefully it begins to resolve some of the questions you might already have. Contracts: Apologies for the trouble with Company Contract and Family Contract payments options on our website store. The issue has been addressed, please make your first by September 15, 2023. Family Contract balances are due by October 1, 2023.Company Contract installments are due by October 1, 2023, January 21, 2024 and March 1, 2024. We are a small operation, tracking late payment pulls attention and valuable time that could be used toward the production quality. Commitment: Performing on stage is a privilege and a commitment. It is crucial for the performers to have adequate preparation, this helps with things like the disorientation of being on stage as well as with stage fright/anxiety, responding to unexpected changes, and builds stamina. To that effect– Please let me know ASAP of any known Saturdays between September 9 and December 16 where you are unavailable. We know you have a life outside of the studio, and intend to get the rehearsal schedule out as soon as possible and as far out in advance to allow you to plan your weekends accordingly. We also know that things happen, please notify me as soon as you are aware your dancer cannot make it to their scheduled rehearsal. Attendance is very important as each dancer is part of the team and if someone is missing it affects everyone in their dance. Our rehearsal time is limited and it is difficult to make up for a missed rehearsal. Rehearsal schedule will be posted at the studio, emailed and on the website password protected. We will have a YouTube Channel with the rehearsal videos posted for your review. This is an extremely useful tool if your dancer needs a little more time to practice what they are learning, if your dancer cannot make their rehearsal it is also a useful tool to ensure they are not far behind in the next rehearsal. IF your dancer misses rehearsal please watch the video(s) and make every attempt to learn what was taught. To protect the artistic property of the production, and because rehearsals are not a final product, please do not share the channel link with anyone who isn’t directly involved with the production process. Additionally, remember that all rehearsals are closed rehearsals. This means to say, there is no standing in the studio, backstage, in a doorway, or in front of a window to extensively watch, or record on your mobile device. We understand you are curious to know how your child is doing in this environment, we expect you to look through the window on occasion, but it is truly distracting for all participants but especially so for some. Finally, please do not post videos of the choreography to your social media outlets without expressed permission by Benicia Ballet Theatre. Privilege: We will be inviting specific dancers to understudy certain roles. A crucial responsibility in the fabric of live shows, an understudy is a performer who learns a role so in the event of an injury, illness or other reason a performer can no longer participate in a show there is a way to maneuver roles so that someone can assume that role. While you may not get to perform that particular role, an understudy casting means that we see you as an individual capable of learning more, handling more, being responsible for more. There are many instances of professional dancers getting promotions or positions in a company because of their ability to step in as an understudy. If for whatever reason, you do not want the accept this privilege, please let us know so we can invite someone else. Preparation: It is important to arrive at the studio warmed up or to attend (if appropriate) a Saturday class. Rehearsals are not a suitable replacement for technique classes and do not include time to warm up the body. Rehearsals are designed to set choreography, practice/develop artistry and build stamina to withstand the challenges of performance, which include fatigue (from the work both dancing and outside responsibilities for example: school, sports, and more), the effects of adrenaline, and much more. If you unable attend a class to warm up before rehearsal please come early enough to warm yourself up to minimize the risk of injury. If you are not sure if your dancer can attend the Saturday classes, please reach out to us to ask. Please come prepared to start at your rehearsal time, this means eat a snack before you arrive, be early enough to use the restroom, come dressed to dance, warm up, focus your mind to the rehearsal ahead and keep an eye and an ear out for your rehearsal call. Please bring sufficient sustenance and comfort items for your rehearsal duration, i.e. bring a water bottle, a non-messy snack or lunch (to be eaten outside of the studios during breaks), sweatshirt/sweatpants/leg warmers, a book or homework for long breaks. Communication: All participant families, and especially performers 11+, are encouraged to join our GroupMe communication thread! GroupMe is a communication app, where dancers and artistic faculty and staff can be reached directly. This is in lieu of sharing staff contact information with families. We send reminders about rehearsals, celebrate birthdays, milestones, communicate day of attendance concerns, etc. We find it helpful for everyone involved in the production. Look out for any emails from our BBT Board President, Layla, who will be communicating about fundraising, volunteering, and more. Please note that important information about casting, rehearsals, volunteering, performances, tickets, and any changes will be communicated through email (specifically to the email you registered with), so please check in frequently to ensure you do not miss anything. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me, “Ms Frances”, via email at franceslaibaca@gmail.com. Casting and Rehearsals: We are working hard to get the Cast List and rehearsal schedule out to you ASAP. Please keep a look out for communication regarding casting and rehearsals. Gratitude: A production like this takes everyone’s commitment and for that we thank you! Together we will put on a truly special show, we hope you enjoy the process, the product, and the magic of live performance. Sincerely, Frances Lai Baca Benicia Ballet Theatre Associate Artistic Director

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