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DANBURY ‘Nutcracker’ auditions begin this week

September 10, 2018 GMT

DANBURY — Auditions for “The Nutcracker” annual Danbury ballet will be held Friday and Saturday at Danbury High School.

The 51st annual performance is taking on new significance for the Danbury Music Centre, headlining as the group’s sole major fundraising campaign amid an ongoing financial crisis.

This spring, the center decided to cancel its annual gala for the first time ever — as much a city tradition itself as the Christmastime ballet — after the group started the year with a $30,000 deficit when snowstorms forced the cancellation of several “Nutcracker” performances last year.

The gala simply would not raise enough donations to make it worth the expense, so the future of the center depends on the fundraising success of this year’s ballet, Music Centre Executive Director Barbara Adams Jaeger said.

“The Danbury Music Centre is still hopeful to survive the crisis due to last year’s canceled performances of the Nutcracker Ballet,” she said.

Jaeger is hoping this year’s auditions draw hundreds of dancers for the show.

Registration and auditions are held based on age, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday and again at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Dancers must fill out an audition form online at www.danburymusiccentre.org and audition one of those two days.

Dancers will be notified of the results beginning Sept. 25 before the mandatory “Big Meeting” for dancers at 5 p.m. Sept. 29. The center tries to cast every dancer who auditions but cannot guarantee it, Jaeger said.

Performances are scheduled for Dec. 7, 8 and 9, she said.

Last week the center received final notice that it has been granted a new lease to take over the entire old Danbury Library on Main Street to try to expand its classes and programs.

The library is already home to the Marian Anderson Recital Hall upstairs and the music center has previously shared the space with other city offices. Now the $1-per-year lease allows the center to spread into more rehearsal and practice rooms alongside a few offices reserved for the city’s cultural commission.

“I just got the lease with the mayor’s signature on it, so we are good to go and so happy for the chance,” she said. “This is a big help for us going forward and we just love this building.”