Pres. Obama Interview Bumps ‘Nutcracker’ Dress Rehearsal For Children’s Ballet School

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — While visions of sugarplums will still be dancing in some people’s heads early Sunday morning, 150 students of the Ballet Petite dance school will already be on their way to rehearse their production of “The Nutcracker” one last time before curtain.

That’s because their original final rehearsal times, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, were suddenly cancelled when their venue at American University was selected to host a taped interview between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and President Barack Obama.

Ballet Petite’s founder and owner, Nancy Parenti, says this will be the school’s ninth year using the school’s Greenberg Theatre as the venue for “The Nutcracker.” They have had the space reserved since January.

Now the students will have to arrive at the venue by 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and will not be likely to leave the theatre until after 8 p.m. that night, after completing a dress rehearsal and two full performances of the ballet.

After hearing the news, “we did immediately start calling our parents so we could notify them of the change,” Parenti says. “They were concerned about the long hours for Sunday for their children…the children of course have a lot of jitters.”

But, as the saying goes, “in the end they all know that the show must go on.”

“We regret the short notice, and do recognize the impact of the compacted time frame for preparations on the dancers and the company,” American University said in a statement. “As a result, the university is offering substantial concessions to the dance company for rental and labor and are working to accommodate the interests of all parties while ensuring that the show goes on for Ballet Petite.”

Parenti says the school was offered 50 percent off their multiple-day rental price for the space, which will accommodate Sunday’s sold out shows as well as six more sold out shows scheduled for next weekend.

Parenti says it will be up to the parents of the dancers what to do with the returned funds. She predicts the money will go toward a bonus for the show’s directors, an extra-special cast party or even a scholarship to the school.

Ballet Petite’s three locations, in Bethesda, Md., Potomac, Md., and McLean, Va., serve children ages five to 18.

Despite being taken by surprise with the last-minute change in plans, “we want to continue a great relationship with Greenberg Theatre,” Parenti says. After nine years, “it feels, of course, like home to us.”

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