HOUSTON — Sad news for an annual tradition in Houston: this year's ballet performance of "The Nutcracker" has been canceled due to challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"We’ve made the call to reimagine our 2020-2021 season," Houston Ballet leaders stated on Facebook. "The safety of our patrons and Houston Ballet family is our top priority. There is a lot we still don’t know about this pandemic, but what we do know shows us that we can’t safely proceed as planned. Love Letters and ‘Mayerling’, set for Sept. and Oct., will not go onstage during their scheduled times. Subscribers will receive fulfillment through digital content and/or rescheduled performances, to be announced at a later date. Unfortunately, we must cancel ‘The Nutcracker’."
The Houston Chronicle reports the company has also laid off about a third of its staff and put its dancers and musicians on extended leave.
The ballet is still, however, aiming to return to the theater Dec. 4 with its annual Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance, "followed by a limited number of special holiday performances."
"The pandemic is new, but we are no strangers to overcoming challenges. In the past 50 years, Houston Ballet has been able to keep creating through natural disasters, and we have not done it alone. Our resilient and generous community has seen us through it all, helping us emerge stronger than ever. This is a storm we can weather, but we need your support. This is not our final act. We have not finished creating. Keep our dancers dancing by making a donation today. Your gift counts and will be matched dollar for dollar by The Cullen Trust for Performing Arts. Donate now at give.houstonballet.org/donate. "
The ballet's Facebook post did not address the status of this year's 40th Anniversary Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, which is scheduled to run Nov. 12 to Nov. 15 at NRG.