Featuring timeless dances, magnificent costumes, beautiful sets and plenty of magic, BalletMet’s The Nutcracker takes you on a journey you won’t soon forget.
But it requires a great deal of time, effort—and pointe shoes (read on for the total number used throughout the show) to get the production from start to finish. Ever wondered how that happens?
Here are some fun facts that provide a different look at the beloved ballet.
- There are 25 company dancers who perform in The Nutcracker. Six have learned multiple roles.
- The ballet features 180 students from BalletMet’s academy.
- There are 220 total costumes for the run of the show. 132 costumes can be seen on stage during each performance.
- There are four Nutcracker Prince costumes, five Adult Clara costumes and five Sugar Plum Fairy costumes.
- 19 mouse heads go on stage every night, but only 18 have tails. (Granny, who transforms into a mouse in Clara’s dream, doesn’t wear a tail).
- Mother Ginger needs three people to help her get into her costume for each show.
- Young Clara has a quick change from the party scene into the battle scene. She has 1 minute and 30 seconds to get changed, which is the fastest change in the entire show. Two people help with this change.
- There are 15 layers of tulle and almost 200 beads in each Sugar Plum Fairy tutu. Nearly three quarters of the beads are on the top of the bodice. That means for all five Sugar Plum Fairy costumes there are around 75 layers of tulle and 1,000 beads!
- For each show, there are five wardrobe crews and six academy chaperones assisting with getting the dancers into costumes and helping with quick changes.
- Laundry is done after every show, and the wardrobe crew does a minimum of seven loads of laundry per show.
- Once all shows have been performed, the wardrobe crew has to use five large bottles of laundry detergent and about 15 gallons of vodka to clean the costumes. The vodka is used to disinfect costumes that can’t be washed traditionally.
- About 96 pairs of pointe shoes will be used throughout the run of the show.
Michigan Opera Theatre will present BalletMet’s The Nutcracker Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 at the Detroit Opera House. The event features live accompaniment from the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra as well as complimentary children’s activities before the performance and during intermission. Tickets available at https://michiganopera.org/season-schedule/the-nutcracker/.
~Anita Burton, BalletMet