The Magical Gift Of Nutcracker Scenery

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Every December, ballet schools all around the world prepare for their productions of The Nutcracker. This particular production often calls for one specific scenic element – a growing Christmas tree. One school, in particular, got the best Christmas gift ever – a Nutcracker Christmas Tree designed and painted by one of the most gifted ballet scenic designers in the world, Alain Vaes.

https://youtu.be/r2rds8CGalk

Alain Vaes has worked on sets for the New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet and, most recently, on the $1MM update of the Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker. Every show he designs he puts his years of experience to work in order to envelop the audience in the world of the ballet with his backdrops and set designs. So, how could he say no when his girlfriend, Diana White – Artistic Director at Scarsdale Ballet Studio, asked for a magical, growing tree for an upcoming production of The Nutcracker? It was his chance to give her a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.

 


As a designer, Vaes hadn’t actually painted one of his designs in years. He had no paint crew to call on for this job though, so he painted the tree himself with Rosco Off Broadway Scenic Paint inside his studio. The studio wasn’t large enough to accommodate the large growing tree, however, so he painted it in sections.

Vaes used Off Broadway #5364 Emerald Green and #5365 Chrome Oxide Green for the base color of the tree. Other colors, such as #5355 Raw Sienna, #5367 Golden Yellow and #5368 Purple were used for the ornaments, and he used #5350 White for the decorative trim.

 

While Alain Vaes works primarily as a set and costume designer, he is also an author and illustrator of children’s books. You can read more about Alain Vaes and his amazing designs on his website – or, if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your little “Clara or Fritz,” you can find his children’s books on Amazon.

Learn more about the paints Alain Vaes used to create his magical Nutcracker tree gift on our Off Broadway Scenic Paint web page.

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Jenny Knott

About Jenny Knott

Scenic Paint & Coating Product Manager: A graduate from the University of Missouri, Kansas City with an MFA in Design and Technology, Jenny has been a freelance scenic artist for over 30 years – working for regional theatres including Missouri Rep (now KC Rep), Arena Stage, the Guthrie and Goodspeed Opera House as well as union scene shops. Jenny is a member of United Scenic Artists 829 as well as a past member of USITT’s Board of Directors. Jenny continues to paint, which keeps her current with emerging scenic artists and helps her discover new ways of approaching paint challenges. “Bring on the goop and let’s get creative.”