Pacific Northwest Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ goes virtual

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Members of Northern Ballet stand in the wings and watch a performance by dancer Sean Bates as he dances the role of the Cavalier during a performance of The Nutcracker at the Grand Theatre on Dec. 18, 2015 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

For many families, it’s not Christmas without a ballet performance of “The Nutcracker.”

But this year, as the Associated Press reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled performances of “The Nutcracker” around the U.S. and Canada, eliminating a major and reliable source of revenue for dance companies already reeling financially following the essential shutdown of their industry.

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That’s the case in Seattle too, as the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s annual holiday performance is moving online for 2020. Families can stream an archival performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker performed by the PNB from the comfort of their own homes.

The PNB is offering two ticket levels that determine how long you have access to the stream, the higher of which also includes bonus content. Streaming with the Digital Performance level ($39) starts on Dec. 18 and will be available through Dec. 26. The Digital Performance Plus ($55) grants one week earlier access to the stream, starting on Dec. 11, and includes “Olivia’s reading list,” a gallery of costume sketches by Ian Falconer, and videos of dancers discussing their roles in the ballet.

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Included on the PNB’s website are some digital viewing tips, which recommends connecting your device to your TV with an HDMI cable for the best quality viewing.

As the first to close down when the pandemic hit and probably the last to open, arts and entertainment venues have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown. The Associated Press says the pandemic has cost the arts and entertainment industry about 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion nationally, according to an August analysis by the Brookings Institution.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins with the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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