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story.lead_photo.caption Ballet Arkansas company member Meredith Loy with community cast member Ava Lawson as Clara in The Nutcracker. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Citing the health and safety of employees and patrons, Ballet Arkansas is jettisoning its fall schedule, moving its multimedia world-premiere production of Jekyll & Hyde to the fall of 2021 and canceling its annual performance of P.I. Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

“To bring our ‘Nutcracker’ Spectacular to life requires more than 350 hours of rehearsal and features a cast of nearly 500 dancers, musicians, singers, volunteers and crew that work closely together,” the ballet company announced Tuesday in a news release.

“While we are not able to present our beloved production in its traditional format this year, we are exploring unique and innovative ways to engage our community this fall and winter,” the release added. That could consist of collaborations with other arts organizations and “ways that you can experience Ballet Arkansas in open-air spaces and online, and opportunities for community dancers to perform.”

The Little Rock-based professional ballet company continues to plan a schedule for winter/spring 2021, including a full production of Leo Delibes’ ballet “Coppelia,” Feb. 18-21; “The White Room,” which the company website, balletarkansas.org, describes as “a nomadic, contemporary dance installation” going to various Arkansas locations in March; and “Extremes: Verve/Versatility,” April 23-25, a mixed program that includes live accompaniment from a classical performer.

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