Performances exist in the moment. These moments are meant to create a memorable performance and that is the key goal for performers.
However, there are moments that are not showcased on the center stage. These moments occur backstage, away from the limelight. They are more intimate and personal, creating a very different experience for the performers as they prepare to exhibit their craft to the world.
The New Mexico Ballet Company was founded in 1972 with the intent “to provide a means of study and an opportunity for advancement for dancers throughout New Mexico,” according to its website. It was also during this year that NMBC staged the first Nutcracker production in the state accompanied by a live full orchestra. It has continued to this day with the company presenting “The Nutcracker Ballet” annually.
NMBC Executive Director Emily Fine said that “The Nutcracker Ballet” is one of the largest productions in the state of New Mexico.
“It is a huge cast, a huge crew, and in the biggest theater as well,” Fine said. “Technically speaking, it is a very, very difficult and complex production so we have over 30 crew members just to handle props, scene changes, everything. There are also over 200 artists in the show when you add in the musicians.”
The artists also include the ballet dancers who prepare for weeks, if not months, in advance to put together “The Nutcracker Ballet.”
The final preparations can only be witnessed backstage as the dancers anticipate the big reveal to the audience. It is backstage where the dedication of the ballet dancers shines through.
“[As a ballet dancer] you have to be completely devoted and it takes an enormous amount of time,” Fine said. “You can’t dabble in ballet. You have to be disciplined, but you will gain so many life skills like self-esteem, teamwork, cooperation, independence. It is wonderful.”
The backstage moments of “The Nutcracker Ballet” may not be visible to many people who attend the production, but they are the precursors to the onstage moments and are just as important. They are translated onto the stage, being carried throughout the performance with the sole intention to put on a show.
“Our primary focus is entertainment. We always take that into consideration that we want to entertain the audience and when you do that you usually can’t go wrong,” Fine said.