In Motion celebrates Christmas with ‘sensory-friendly’ show
In Motion’s Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular is back.
The production is an annual tradition for the Reid Street school.
This year, in addition to the usual “magic and spectacle”, In Motion School of Dance will offer The Petite Performance, a shorter version of the iconic two-act ballet, modified for people who find regular shows “too loud, too bright or too busy”.
“We're super proud,” said Lizz Pimentel, the school’s owner and director. “As far as we know, it will be the island’s first sensory-friendly production. In Motion is all about inclusivity and this is just one more step – [offering a show for people] who might have some challenges.
“What it means is that a few things will be modified for individuals that find normal performances too loud, too bright, too busy, too long. It’s a shorter show; our lighting will be changed and adjusted so it's more comfortable. It's all about moderation so there’s not the musical cues and things that possibly could be a little bit overwhelming, we have a smaller audience allowance in the space.”
At the 2pm matinee, it will be OK for people to stand up, to move around or do whatever is necessary to make themselves comfortable. People do not need to be on the spectrum or have a sensory processing disorder to attend.
“[There will] be a safe space for anybody that is feeling a little bit overwhelmed in the theatre – they can sit to the side with some activities, there will be some interactive things for them and some tangible items that they can hold in their hand or use when they are in the theatre,” she said.
“I'm always looking at how I can offer art, this incredible experience of stage and theatre, to everybody across the board and this is one of the ways. It's our first time doing it. I think it's the first time on the island, but I'm especially excited and proud and I hope it will be something that comes even more.”
In Motion began performing The Nutcracker about ten years ago.
“The Nutcracker is very much a huge tradition overseas and we're happy that we've been able to offer that to our local community as well as our local dancers,” Ms Pimentel said. “I think it's important for them to have that experience so that when they go away and dance, if they go away, they know what each of the parts of The Nutcracker is.”
Exposing dancers to as many opportunities as possible has always been a goal, she added.
“We take them overseas to do workshops with acclaimed choreographers and instructors. We bring instructors to the island to work with them; we have them perform at an international level. So that's been sort of my goal. At the end of the day, the experiences and the skills that they learn in the performance environments or these classroom environments, they carry with them for their life. I think it gives them an edge whether they stick with dance or if they go into a different career. They learn time management, they know how to work in a group atmosphere; they know disappointment.
“You might have wanted that role and you didn’t get it. Well, why didn’t you get it? Are there things that you need to work on and improve upon? We're creating and moulding these young persons to be great humans moving forward, building their self-esteem, confidence.”
As part of that In Motion dancers give as much as they can to the community. This Christmas season they have performed at Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home, at the Corporation of Hamilton’s tree lighting and at the Bermuda National Trust Walkabout in St George.
“We're doing so many local charitable performances. It’s also important for students to learn to give back to the community and what that means.”
The Nutcracker dates back to 1892 when Alexandre Dumas Père’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was set to music by Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa. The tale is of a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King.
“Of course, it’s super fun for all the dancers,” Ms Pimentel said. “We have a couple of Christmas pieces, seasonal pieces of choreography in there and then of course there’s The Nutcracker.”
The Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular runs December 16 and 17 at 7pm at Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts. A shorter, “sensory-friendly” performance runs on December 17 at 2pm. Tickets are available through inmotionbda.com or ptix.bm