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Positively San Diego: San Diego Civic Youth Ballet reimagines holiday classic 'The Nutcracker' for people to watch virtually

Posted at 6:33 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 09:33:14-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The magic of the holiday classic "The Nutcracker" couldn't be stopped, even by a pandemic, as the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet has figured out a way for the show to go on.

We're used to seeing this ballet with its lavish sets on an indoor stage with dancers close together, but this season things will look different because the virtual show will be outside with dancers wearing masks and distancing.

Lucia del Rio stars as Clara and says, "I'm just really excited to be doing it at all. It's like in the beginning it was kind of hard to see how it was going to work especially since we were on Zoom. The most exciting part for me is being around everyone even if we have our masks on."

The 9th grader from Academy of Our Lady of Peace says while they have had two in-person rehearsals following safety precautions, most rehearsals have been from home alone via Zoom.

"It's just very tough.. My floor is not good, my floor is very slippery."

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet Artistic Director Danika Pramik-Holdaway has been on the other end of those Zoom rehearsals and says they've all had to overcome a few obstacles.

"Knowing who they stand next to, who they go behind, how they go in their direct order, when you're on Zoom at home by yourself that's very very challenging," says Pramik-Holdaway.

But the students were up to the task and with hard work, Lucia and the other dancers have been able to turn lonely Zoom rehearsals into something special. The small group performance outside the Casa del Prado Theater will be recorded so people can watch online. It will be a simplified, shorter version of The Nutcracker, but the beloved scenes will still be there. Lucia says, "It's really really special. It's kind of a gift to be able to dance with people in the holiday season, so I'm really excited about that."

Not to mention a virtual trip to see the Sugar Plum Fairy could yield a sweet reward --- more viewers than usual.

Pramik-Holdaway says, "I'm sure we'll have definitely a lot of grandparents, who don't live here in San Diego, get to see their grandkids dance."

They both agree that holding onto cherished traditions like this one, even if they have to be adapted, is something we need right now.

"Since we're in Balboa Park we have people walking through the park and everyone stops by and says, 'Oh, the Nutcracker!' They hear the music and I think it makes everyone feel like things are going to be okay again," says Pramik-Holdaway.

SDCYB is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and ticket sales help keep this nonprofit going. Access to this performance is only $5 and tickets are on sale now.

"The Nutcracker" debuts online on December 19 and goes through January 1. You can get tickets here at