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The televised premiere of Nashville’s Nutcracker, presented by Nashville Ballet and in partnership with Nashville’s CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5, will feature youth cast members from Middle Tennessee alongside Nashville Ballet’s company dancers. SUBMITTED

The televised premiere of Nashville’s Nutcracker, presented by Nashville Ballet and in partnership with Nashville’s CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5, will feature youth cast members from Middle Tennessee alongside Nashville Ballet’s company dancers.

The full-length, televised performance sponsored by the Tennessee Titans will feature an introduction and narration by former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George and will replace the previously scheduled in-theater production at TPAC’s Jackson Hall out of an abundance of caution amid COVID-19.

Each year, the youth cast for Nashville’s Nutcracker includes more than 200 members 8 and older from both the School of Nashville Ballet and the surrounding community. Due to COVID-19, this year’s cast was selected from the Academy division at School of Nashville Ballet in place of open auditions.

“This was a big opportunity for our Academy students this year,” said School of Nashville Ballet Academy principal Kate Linsley. “Our students are used to performing in Nashville’s Nutcracker at TPAC every December, but preparing for a performance during the pandemic required immense commitment from our students, our faculty and their families. I am so proud of how our School of Nashville Ballet community has adapted over the last several months, and we are thrilled that our students will be featured in the film.”

This year’s youth cast from Davidson County includes:

• Bridget Byrd as a Party Girl.

•  Evelyn Clark as a Baby Mouse.

•  Adri Cottingham as a Commodore Cavalry.

•  Bailey Rose Crowell as a Lamb.

•  Jonah Forsythe as a Party Boy.

•  Lily Harwell as a Baby Mouse.

•  Lottie Heard as a Lamb.

•  Freya Heard as a Russian Nesting Doll.

•  Sophia Hill as a Commodore Cavalry.

•  Kennedy Lamar as a Lamb.

•  Anne Harris Menge as a Baby Mouse.

•  Eléonore Ness as a Frontier Soldier.

•  Harper Perry as a Baby Mouse.

•  Eva Pregont as a Party Girl.

•  Lillian Pyatt as a Russian Nesting Doll.

•  Margaret Rick as a Frontier Soldier.

•  Sophia Shi as a Russian Nesting Doll.

•  Gwenyth Smith as a Party Girl.

•  Mackenzie Wade as a Russian Nesting Doll.

•  Ella Wescott as a Commodore Cavalry.

Nashville Nutcracker’s two-hour performance will feature new and creative ways to engage audiences such as George’s introduction and narration as they take a sparkling – and safe, socially distant – journey through the Land of the Sweets and Music City’s past. In the midst of these unprecedented times, Nashville Ballet hopes viewers will find comfort in enjoying this classic holiday tradition in a new and safe way.

Nashville Ballet completed filming for the televised premiere within its 12,000-square-foot warehouse in early October on a sound stage that was specifically built for the event. Under continued consultation with a team of trusted medical advisors, close collaboration with the Metro Nashville Public Health Department and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville Ballet instituted numerous policies to ensure the process was completed in the safest way possible. All dancers, staff, and crew involved with filming underwent daily rapid tests and weekly tests facilitated by health care professionals from CareNOW East Nashville in addition to daily temperature and symptom checks. Nashville Ballet implemented a mandatory mask requirement at all times while in the facility – with the exception of a dancer actively filming – enhanced filtration measures to upgrade the existing heating and air conditioning system, social distancing, cleanings, hand sanitizing and more.

Nashville Ballet also instituted assigned pods during all rehearsals and filmed the youth cast separately from the company dancers to minimize risk. In addition to limiting the amount of dancers present in each studio, they also taped 8-foot squares onto the floors to maintain appropriate social distancing.

In addition to the televised premiere, NewsChannel 5 will present a unique behind-the-scenes special to provide coveted access into the making of Nashville Ballet’s holiday classic. The special, airing Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. and on Talk of the Town on Dec. 14, will offer a sneak peek into Nashville’s Nutcracker rehearsals with its professional company dancers, a look into the glittering set design, interviews with beloved characters, and more.

Nashville’s Nutcracker will air Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. To tune in, watch on NewsChannel 5, NewsChannel 5+ or the WTVF app that can be found on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Amazon Alexa and Google Play. The performance will re-air Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. on NewsChannel5+ and Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. on NewsChannel 5.

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