The Big Picture: Holiday Gift

Ballet dancers on stage The Nutcracker at Krannert Center (Image by Darrell Hoemann)

The Champaign Urbana Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition at the University’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The production is a gift to and from the community: Its corps de ballet features local talent, including aspiring young dancers who start Nutcracker rehearsals just after Labor Day. Parents have their roles as well. The Party Dads, as they are known, are a group of fathers who audition to be part of the extras in the opening party scene. A few dads have even gone on to feature roles and become fixtures in the annual production. In 2019, Brett Feddersen, MS ’86 ENG, PHD ’93 ENG, MBA ’99, a senior research programmer for the University’s Realizing Increased Photosynthesis Efficiency (RIPE) project, graduated from the party scene to portray Herr Drosselmeyer alongside his daughter, Taylor, who performed as the ballet’s young heroine, Clara. Feddersen played Clara’s father, Mr. Stahlbaum, in this year’s production.