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December 10, 2012 at 7:25 PM

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Enchanting 'Nutcracker' still dazzles


GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Photographer Greg Gilbert, who has photographed the show numerous times, found a new angle after climbing onto the catwalk about 60-feet over the stage during the snowy scene that ends Act I.

Every year the Pacific Northwest Ballet invites television and still photographers to document their production of "The Nutcracker" in an evening dress rehearsal.



McCall Hall is mostly empty. Main floor seating is reserved for photographers and the production staff including Artistic Director Peter Boal. Also on hand was Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell who originally choreographed the production in 1983. He comes back every year to be sure they're (the dancers) are doing it right.


The most iconic Nutcracker image, in my opinion, is the snow scene that ends Act I where artificial snow falls on stage. I have shot this from out front, as well as from the edge of the stage. This year I asked permission to photograph from an overhead lighting catwalk nearly 60-feet above the stage. I always like to try to shoot something from an interesting angle. With heat rising from the lighting equipment and the fact that the stage is heated to help the dancers, it felt like 125-degrees up there! Additionally, it wasn't a clear shot down to the stage. There was a railing with mesh, and overhead were lights and wires. It was a little like shooting through a mail slot.



GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

In a production full of familiar sights and delights, young dancer Ali Prevost-Reilly performs the role of Clara.

GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dancer Lindsi Dec glides across the stage as the grown-up Clara in Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Nutcracker."

For more 'Nutcracker' images by Seattle Times photographer Greg Gilbert, visit the gallery.



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