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_© Kim Kenney 2018_AB NUT Cast 1_3284.jpg Kim Kenney

The Nutcracker For The Next Generation: Part Three, Projection Design

Tom Pye created a larger-than-life scenic design, setting the tone for David Finn's simple, clean lighting design, which he balanced with Finn Ross's gorgeous projections for Atlanta Ballet's reimagined production of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, held December 8-24, 2018 at the Fox Theatre. 

Ross matched Pye's eclecticism of the design, inspired by the work of American artist Joseph Cornell, and assembled a mixture of images. "We wanted a bricolage of objects to create the whole fairy tale world," says the projection designer. "We used as many found textures, a mixture of illustrative and photographic, objects, pictures, scraps of this and that to build the world. I wanted these ordinary things to take on a magical quality when assembled at large into different things so we could see the magic in the mundane."

Atlanta Ballet Dancers_© Kim Kenney 2018_AB NUT Cast 1_3338.jpg

Photo by Kim Kenney

The creative team, assembled by artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin and world-class choreographer Yuri Possokhov, developed the show over the course of two years despite the members rarely being in the same country at the same time. "It was a slow and iterative process," Ross comments. "I would make something, send it to everyone for review, take the notes on board, add my own, and move it on to the next round of development." The team held a dry tech week over the summer of 2018, providing ample notes to address before reuniting in the winter with the very detailed, complex animations ready to go.

_© Kim Kenney 2018_AB Nut Dry Run 4_1180.jpg

Photo by Kim Kenney

Key collaborator Norvydas Genys built all the 3D worlds in the show and helped Ross develop the look and feel of the overture, which Ross claims, was the biggest challenge of the production. "It is a hugely complex piece of 3D animation, which is not especially fast to alter or render," he explains. "Keeping up with the ideas as we were in tech and getting them onto the stage was hard but we had a good team and a large render farm, which helped a great deal." Working alongside Ross were animators Ash Woodward and Alex Uragallo, programmer Matthew Houstle, and system engineer Joey Moro. The projections were created with Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects and run through disguise media servers, provided by 4Wall.

Don't miss the same creative team, together again, in February for the Joffrey Ballet’s Anna Karenina.

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