The New York City Ballet’s “Nutcracker” returned this season after its first year off since its inception in 1954. In the scope of bizarre Covid ramifications, the necessity of casting vaccinated children over the age of 12 in this year’s production must be high on the list. In normal years, the age range of the children in the performance is 8-12, with the occasional diminutive 13 year-old. For this strange year, the children were between the ages of 12 and 16. New costumes had to be made for the tall tweens and teens, and the roster went from 126 kids to 74—as some of the older children could double up and dance roles in both Act I and II. Also, it was safer to have less people gathered around backstage.
Waltz of the Snowflakes in New York City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” by George Balanchine. Photograph by Erin Baiano