PBS’ hit children’s program Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will head behind the scenes of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker on its Dec. 17, episode, following Principal Dancer Alexandra Kochis as she prepares to dance the role of the Sugarplum Fairy. The segment airs locally on WQED at 9 a.m. Dec. 17.
Derived from the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the animated Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood follows four-year-old Daniel Tiger and his friends as they experience new things and grow in their life skills. The program promotes social and emotional learning, imparts Fred Rogers’ values to a new generation of children and families, and ranks among the top children’s broadcast programs. Each episode ends with a short, live-action segment – produced by the Pittsburgh-based Fred Rogers Company – featuring a child, nicknamed the sweater kids, sporting Daniel’s signature red sweater.
In each “Sweater Kid” segment, a child visits an interesting person and place, often getting a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse that most children may never experience. In this episode, Olivia, one of the regular sweater kids, visits with principal ballerina, Alexandra Kochis. Olivia gets to see the dance studio, the stage and the costumes before she and her dad enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center.
During the episode, Kochis will demonstrate a sampling of her stage preparations as a PBT principal dancer, particularly as the Sugarplum Fairy in PBT’s The Nutcracker. Through studio warmups, a view from the stage and a glimpse of the performance itself, Olivia gets a taste of a day in the life of a professional dancer.
The program marks PBT’s third appearance in the “neighborhood,” following a 2000 appearance on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood featuring former PBT dancers Ying Li and Jaibin Pan and Ballet Mistress Marianna Tcherkassky. Mister Rogers also visited with Lynn Swan and a few Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School students for a 1981 segment about the former Pittsburgh Steelers star and his ballet practice.
About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker Dec. 5-28, at the Benedum Center. This Pittsburgh-inspired production laces the traditional tale with new surprises each year and keeps the magic alive by showcasing the virtuosity of more than 170 dancers. From the moonlit Snow Scene to the effervescent Land of Enchantment, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls The Nutcracker “the best holiday performance in Pittsburgh.” For tickets, visit www.pbt.org, call 412-456-6666 or visit the Box Office at Theater Square in the Cultural District.
About The Fred Rogers Company
The company was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and by engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. The company’s highly rated children’s TV series include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad and Peg + Cat. For more information, visit www.fredrogers.org.