The Path to a New Classic

UNCSA's schools of Dance, Music, Production & Design, & Filmmaking came together to keep the annual holiday performance going on. Taking the show from 2 hours to 30 minutes meant revising the iconic music & the choreography. Bringing the story more to the present spurred new sets & new costume designs including masks. For the first time, the film school captured the beloved Christmas performance.

AIRED: December 22, 2020 | 0:03:46

(cheerful orchestral music)

- The biggest challenge we faced in this production

of "The Nutcracker" was creating an all-school production

in such a limited timeframe

with all the restrictions we were operating under.

It was quite the challenge, but just like at UNCSA,

we always find a way to make it happen.

We innovate and we create.

(cheerful orchestral music)

My name is Jared Redick.

I'm the interim dean of dance.

And for this year's production of "The Nutcracker,"

I'm the executive producer and co-director.

(cheerful orchestral music)

Back in June when we knew that restrictions

were gonna be in place

and live performance was not gonna be a possibility,

we started looking at what was going to be possible.

We looked at the restrictions not as a hindrance,

but as an opportunity for us to put together

this all-school production

and involve the School of Filmmaking for the first time

in the history of "Nutcracker" at UNCSA.

(cheerful orchestral music)

We had a very intentional viewpoint

about what this production needed to look like.

We wanted to keep it traditional,

and yet, we knew we couldn't do partnering.

We needed to keep the dancers separated

and that really informed a lot of the process.

(cheerful orchestral music)

One of the first pieces that we had to put into place

was we need the soundtrack.

And so, we started there with the School of Music.

That happened in late September

to the first week in October.

And right after that we imported and loaded in

our Stevens Center opera house stage, this flooring there,

we put it into sound stage six.

We created a lighting plot there.

So we took the entire Stevens Center

and put it into sound stage six in Filmmaking.

We were able to set up shop and start filming

beginning of October.

So we were there for about five weeks shooting.

(cheerful orchestral music)

The students invested so much of their artistic talent

in every facet of this production.

When I look back and I see every corner is filled

with something so imaginative and creative and artistic,

it's a testament to the strength of our students.

(cheerful orchestral music)

This was my first time directing a film

and having the opportunity to work with Tom Ackerman,

who has this huge history and experience

as a cinematographer.

I mean, I absolutely learned from the best

right here on our campus, right here on our faculty.

(cheerful orchestral music)

He saw things through his cinematographer's viewpoint

and it brought new dimension

to what we actually put on film.

(cheerful orchestral music)

In order of magnitude of dance on film

we're seeing in the professional world

is something very new.

And to give this opportunity to our students

and let them learn by being in front of the camera

on a sound stage,

that's an invaluable experience that they've gotten.

So I'm so very proud of our dancers

and how they rose to the occasion of being on the set

for the first time.

We saw their artistry, their creativity, their training

and their dedication to their art form.

It was really gratifying to see.

I think about the children who will see this production,

and this might be the very first time they see a production

of "The Nutcracker."

And it's so visually appealing and so accessible

that it will inspire whole new generations of dancers.

That is my hope, and that is a very big and ambitious hope,

but certainly it was part of the visioning.

And this was also to show our students

that even with all these restrictions,

we can create.

We find ways to innovate.

We are artists.

That is what we do.

We create and we imagine and we dream.


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