The Sacramento Ballet's Nutcracker Gets Two Surprising Twists!

Not only is the Sacramento Ballet performing a brand new, updated version of “The Nutcracker,” they are partnering with an upper-division marketing class at William Jessup University (WJU) to promote this holiday tradition.

The first twist is the show itself.

Under the leadership of a new Artistic Director, Amy Seiwert, Sacramento Ballet will reimagine the work while retaining its classic look, story, and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s spectacular music.

 

It has a modern rendition in which the character Marie, the original name for the character Clara, is now the heroine of her own story, as she and her Nutcracker Prince travel through the Land of the Snow to the Kingdom of the Sweets.

Seiwert will be only the third woman in the country currently choreographing and staging “The Nutcracker” with a professional ballet company. She is putting a decidedly Seiwert spin on the show. “It starts with the empowerment of Marie, whose dreamy imagination carries her to a land filled with sweets and wonders,” Seiwert said. “She is a modern young lady in Victorian garb, capable of making her own decisions rather than being rescued by her Prince. She’s adventurous; she’s going to see the world, one candy cane at a time.”

Anthony Krutzkamp, Executive Director of Sacramento Ballet, added, “This will be the most exciting premiere in 30 years. Amy will bring all her experiences from across the nation to one stage in Sacramento.”

The second twist is the involvement of WJU students in marketing “The Nutcracker.”

Ken Fry, president/CEO at Genesee Scientific Corporation, is one of 15 Sacramento Ballet Board members. “We decided to go in a completely different direction for our 2018 marketing effort for ‘The Nutcracker,’” he said. “We contacted William Jessup University and they set up a meeting with one of their business professors. Anthony and I met with Professor Scott Alvord and he explained how he would have his Fall marketing class approach this project. We were very impressed with the fresh concepts.”

That meeting took place at The Fig Tree in Downtown Roseville and the approach that most impressed Fry and Krutzkamp was a Target Avatar Marketing concept that Alvord teaches his upper-division marketing students. He also discussed some fresh ideas using social media and ways to track results.

“It was exciting to learn that we were able to bring this major marketing campaign into the classroom,” said Dr. Stephen Strombeck, dean of the Business School at WJU. “This is a hands-on project with a legitimate marketing budget and we’re thrilled our students get to have this real-world experience.”

Professor Scott Alvord has an MBA degree and wears several hats in the community. His primary focus is serving as a Roseville City Councilmember, but he also moonlights as the CEO of Advanced Development Concepts, LLC, and does business consulting in the Sacramento region. He considers teaching at WJU a part of his ministry.

When asked how he can get students to pull off a world-class marketing project for a ballet series with production costs totaling over a million dollars, Alvord replied, “Although it is very challenging, the class is already equipped to think critically and is keeping up well as we dive deep into hands-on marketing concepts. They are excited and it is infectious!”

Senior, Kaylee Harlan explains, “It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to learn marketing by actually doing a serious marketing project, with a real budget, for a quality company like Sacramento Ballet, with a well-known product like ‘The Nutcracker.’ Sacramento Ballet has promised us all individual letters of reference if we do what’s required. However, I know we’re going to exceed their expectations so that letter will be a nice addition to my resume.”

Junior Abigail House added, “Other than the homework assignments, it feels like we’re working for a real marketing firm. We even dressed up and formally interviewed our client. I love this class.”

When asked what the marketing strategy looks like, student Jacob Custodio shared a few details: “We are targeting multiple avatars with our strategy through different mediums. One is what we call a Millennial Mom who is looking for a fun new tradition to start with her family. And the live production of ‘The Nutcracker’ is a perfect holiday match to the new Disney movie, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.’ Another target is a lively grandma who is realizing that she is in the final chapters of her family experience and she wants to make great memories while they are all still together. We are also working on strategies to target church activity directors and possibly a few other targets.”

Dr. John Jackson, president of WJU, states, “William Jessup University is thrilled to help Sacramento Ballet showcase this modern version of ‘The Nutcracker’ to the region for the holidays. What a wonderful opportunity to also showcase how our school prepares students for the real world.”

“The Nutcracker” will run 14 performances, December 14 – 23 at Sacramento Community Center Theater.

You can find out more about “The Nutcracker” at www.SacBallet.org/nutpr18/

You can find out more about William Jessup University at www.Jessup.edu

Top photo is from the Sacramento Ballet's 2016 performance of The Nutcracker. Photo by Kyle Dahl/Sacramento Ballet

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