Lewis in The Nutcracker. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.

The Nutcracker Goes Nutty at BalletMet

Sometimes dancers--and audiences--need to let loose and have a laugh, even at the ballet. That's just what's happening on Dec. 27, when BalletMet Columbus wraps up its traditional Nutcracker run and puts on its one-night only Nutty Nutcracker. The comical twist on the holiday classic will incorporate more than a few surprises. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with company member Samantha Lewis, who dances as a snowflake and a flower, about what's in store.

What makes this version nutty?

A lot of the small changes that end up in Nutty Nutcracker have evolved from funny things that happened in rehearsal. Some local celebrities are making appearances--the weatherman will be onstage for the snow scene. Columbus is a big football town with Ohio State, so that will definitely be incorporated. We're supposed to have Brutus, the Buckeye mascot, and potentially the cheerleaders and part of the marching band onstage with us. That would be amazing, but it all depends on their game schedule. Our artistic director Edwaard Liang will also be appearing, but I won't reveal his character.

How do snow and flower scenes change?

In snow, we're going to have Elsa from Frozen onstage and she'll be freezing people. I believe we're having a bee (played by one of the company men) in the flower scene.

What is it like to do a show that's so outside of the norm?

It's definitely different being able to let your hair down. We get some freedom, but I think it's also important to remember that it's still a ballet. Whatever's happening onstage should be funny to the audience, as well, not just us. There's that level of composure that you have to maintain so that the jokes read well to the audience. Ultimately, our job is to convey something to them.

Do you have any Nutcracker survival tips?

Lots of sleep, lots of vitamins and lots of water. I think the most important thing with Nutcracker is to remember to take care of your body because you're asking a lot of it and it is a long run. The healthier you can stay, the better.

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