Pennsylvania Ballet's 'Nutcracker' will offer sensory-friendly performance during its holiday run

The Pennsylvania Ballet's annual holiday performance of "The Nutcracker"
Photo credit Pennsylvania Ballet
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Ballet is in final rehearsals for its annual run of a Philadelphia holiday favorite — "The Nutcracker." A sensory-friendly performance is also on the schedule for those with special needs.

Angel Corella, artistic director for the Pennsylvania Ballet, said it's a labor of love bringing George Balanchine’s story and the musical score by Tchaikovsky to the stage.

"We have 12 different casts and they all bring something different to the story and to the way that they portray all these incredible roles and this magical story," Corella said. "Our dancers are spectacular. They're really incredible and they have amazing energy and amazing passion and love for what they do. And, they're beautiful actors. When the curtain goes up, it's magic."

Corella said for the third time, the company is privileged to present a special performance for those having a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, including those on the autism spectrum.

"They can feel included," Corella said. "They can feel comfortable with bringing their kids, they can run around, if they want to get up, if they want to make noise, they are more than welcome.

"They need to bring their own blanket or their own toy. They can actually bring it in and feel comfortable," Corella added. 

He said the cast, the orchestra and even the ushers are prepared for this unique audience.

"Just having the lights dim and not all the way down, that's a big step for them," Corella said. "And, they all have their own toys or they have anything that's going to bring them into a space that's going to make them feel comfortable and they can feel at home."

He said parents are especially appreciative of the special performance.

"We see parents that they come with their kids, their faces lit up," Corella said. "The Nutcracker is something that you want to share with your whole family and everyone should be able to be included."

The sensory-friendly presentation is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 30 at noon at the Academy of Music.