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Youth ballet faces loss of 'Nutcracker' costumes

ANDERSON – A youth dance group in central Indiana is worried about the future of its Christmas season performances of “The Nutcracker” after the show’s costumes were destroyed in a fire.

The insurance company for the troupe’s cleaner has ruled the about 30 costumes are a total loss, said Cheryl Shank, the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre’s board president.

The costumes, estimated to cost about $52,000, were being stored at a Vogue Cleaners store in Muncie that was badly damaged in a May 19 fire. The unique nature of these costumes makes them so valuable, Shank told The Herald Bulletin ( ).

“These costumes we lost are not something you can just buy off of a rack,” she said. “They are specifically made for each character.”

Shank said nearly every costume has specific jewelry, embellishments and other handiwork that could cost an additional $14,000 to have completed.

While the group and Vogue Cleaners have insurance, Shank said the costumes must be ready before this year’s shows scheduled for Dec. 18 to 21 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Anderson.

“If we want to have these new costumes for the play in December, we need to start buying fabric now,” she said. “We’re worried we won’t have the money for the costumes in time.”

Shank said the group can’t afford to miss “The Nutcracker” performances as they are the ballet’s main source of revenue.

The group is seeking public donations to help buy some of the needed costumes.

“We hope the community can step up and help us out in this dire time,” Shank said. “We’re not sure what our course of action would be if we can’t get the money in time.”