Drama Detectives

Why It Is Important: Collaboration

About Why It’s Important:

Our upcoming season, Arts Live! In Venice celebrates the artistry and the importance it plays in our community.  This blog series gives audiences a glimpse into the shows that were chosen for the Arts Live! In Venice season, the reason for each show’s inclusion in the series, and the process behind creating each performance.


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”- Helen Keller.

When considering productions for the Arts Live! In Venice series, the performance’s ability to bring together different artists and arts organizations was a massive consideration.  The performing arts are by nature a collaborative endeavor- what we make as a group is greater than the sum of our parts.

Take, for example, the moment Clara sees the Christmas tree grow during the Nutcracker.  If Clara were alone on stage, dancing in a standard black leotard, this moment might be beautiful but it would mean very little.  Clara’s nightgown, designed by a costume designer, elicits memories of our own childhood.  The lighting design helps the moment to feel mysterious and the scenery makes the moment feel grand. The music changes, referencing that something new is happening, and then builds, getting louder as the tree gets larger. They all come together to make a moment that would be lackluster without every single element building upon each other.

This is the magic of the Performing Arts. It’s about creating a moment, and then another moment, and another until they string together into a beautiful song or dance or play.  The artistry that it takes to build upon the artistry of those around you, to understand that you are part of a whole and stronger for it, creates suspense and wonder and awe.  This artistry is only possible with every element working together, live in the moment.

The addition of The Venice Symphony to the collaborators on this December’s Nutcracker allows us to make this magic.  The performers from The Sarasota Cuban Ballet bring passion, talent, and strength to this production every year that leaves each audience in wonder.  Yet the recorded music used in past years doesn’t have the ability to move with the dancers.  It doesn’t have the ability to grow and feel the moment the way a live orchestra does.  The Venice Symphony musicians bring that strength, that musicality, and that excitement that is needed to take everyone’s breath away.

It is important to work together to make this art that takes both our performers and our audiences to the next level.

The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is bringing professional designers to take this performance even further.  A brand new $60,000 set designed just for this production will be installed the week before Thanksgiving. During this week, The Venice Institute for Performing Arts apprentices, who are also Venice High School Juniors and Seniors, will get the opportunity to load in and set up a brand new production of a classic show, working alongside seasoned professionals.

“The apprenticeship is a hands-on learning experience. The opportunity to not only see and use, but to fully install a brand new set will give students an insight into set design that they have yet to see on this scale,” says Sterling Jasa-Phillips, Director of Artistic Operations who oversees the Apprenticeship program. “VIPA and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School are working to make this experience even more rewarding by bringing in the designer and performance director for a masterclass in set design. This will give apprentices a view of this project as it started as an idea, to how it was designed, built, and then they will be able to install it, giving them the full scale of a $60,000 build.”

The ability to not only witness but become a part of this collaborative experience will provide students with a unique point of view to take into the next phase of their life.  The collaboration with The Venice Symphony will also provide new opportunities for apprentices, Jasa-Phillips says. “This is a new addition that adds a significant amount of layers to the final product, including load-in time, rehearsal, and much more. Apprentices will be able to use this show as a reference point for future performances with similar needs, as well as in their careers if they decide to move forward in the technical theatre realm.”

The artistry brought out through collaboration makes The Nutcracker a perfect way to start our Arts Live! In Venice season. We will be celebrating this collaboration with a VIP reception during the Saturday night performance on December 14th.  Cookies with Clara returns this year after both matinee performances.

We hope you will join us for this holiday classic, creating memories, traditions, and your own magic moments with those you care about most.

Tickets range from $28-$66. VIP Tickets to the Saturday Night reception are in the front row of the balcony and are $81.  Cookies with Clara is $20 per child- parents are free.