[Photo provided by Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet]
Kenneth von Heidecke is founder and director of the Chicago Festival Ballet and a former ballet dancer himself. Putting on "The Nutcracker" year after year continues to be rewarding to him.
"It's definitely a calling card for people who [normally] would not go to the opera or ballet or the symphony," Heidecke said. "And so it's very satisfying to hear that they enjoyed it. Sometimes I hear the husbands say, 'Wow, I had no idea I would like it so much. You can take me any time.' To me, that means we're really doing a service to the community with helping educate people."
He also is pleased music director/conductor Kirk Muspratt and his New Philharmonic Orchestra have been part of the production for the last several years.
"He's a very sensitive conductor to the ballet," Heidecke said. "We have a wonderful rapport with him. Not all conductors have that ability to conduct for the ballet. They are a professional orchestra, and it adds to the magic of having everything live."