Alabama Dance Exchange

New documentary: Nutcracker Inc. featuring AL dance companies!

Don't miss your chance to support this new documentary: Nutcracker Inc. featuring AL dance companies and studios! Watch and donate today! Let's make this film happen.

ALABAMA: Football, big churches, barbeque, and…ballet?? In Alabama, where concerts aren’t set until the football calendar has been consulted, something amazing is happening: ballet, at once an art, and at the same time a formidable athletic endeavor, is alive and well, despite tough economic times and the persistent, deep shadows cast by Friday night lights.

What is keeping dance from vanishing here? The answer can be summed up in one unlikely word: NUTCRACKER. With over three thousand annual productions in the U.S. alone, the Nutcracker Ballet is, quite simply, a behemoth. It is the one ballet that manages to get a few fans out of the football stadiums for an evening; it is the bridge between the arts and the average citizen; it is a right of passage for every little girl in America. And it’s a cash cow.

The Nutcracker, now synonymous with Christmas, single handedly is keeping ballet alive in Alabama…and in this country. As our documentary peaks behind the curtain to see how dance is surviving in America, we follow a number of kids (ages 6 – 17), from auditions, to rehearsals, through performances of the Nutcracker — this is the narrative engine of our story. Some of these kids are destined for greatness, some for heartbreak, but all have one goal this year: Nutcracker. As is seen in documentaries like Spellbound and Mad Hot Ballroom, it’s these personal narratives that will make up the heart and soul of the project. Adult voices (dance directors, parents and professional dancers) will add depth and perspective to those stories. Using the kids’ specific trials and triumphs as a narrative conduit, we aim to tap into the universal themes of what it means to follow one’s heart, and how far we will go to achieve our dreams.

During a brief visit to Alabama in August 2009, we met many children and adults alike who would be rich subjects to follow over the course of a Nutcracker season.

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