Oklahoma City Ballet Expands Performances To Be More Inclusive

Thursday, November 24th 2022, 6:14 pm


The Oklahoma City Ballet is expanding their performances this year, with a special sensory- friendly performance of the Nutcracker. The OKC Ballet has teamed up with Autism Oklahoma to ensure they're creating an inclusive performance and accessible for all families who want to attend.  

This one night performance will have prerecorded music instead of an orchestra, no pyrotechnics, the lights brought up in the room, and even a sensory-friendly room outside if audience members become overwhelmed.  

“Really trying to make sure that we are providing ballet for everyone- making it accessible and inclusive,” said Stephanie Pitts with the OKC ballet. 

The dancers, staff and even ushers have worked with members at Autism Oklahoma to ensure they’re creating an inviting environment that will be comfortable for anybody who chooses to attend. 

"The nutcracker is something we do every year, it's a magical holiday tradition for Oklahoma City,” said Pitts. 

Pitts said they wanted to offer a more inclusive performance this year, along with their iconic Nutcracker performances. 

“We came up with doing a sensory-friendly performance,” said Pitts. 

Pitts said they talked with Autism Oklahoma to put the modified performance together. 

“Prerecorded music so we can adjust the volume, if they want to bring an iPad or headphones that is totally acceptable,” said Pitts. 

“So, to be able to go to a performance, be in the arts, see these beautiful dancers because they’re going to have the lights be up a little bit, there’s not going to be an orchestra, so there’s no sudden sounds of the orchestra,” said Crystal Frost with Autism Oklahoma.  

Crystal Frost with Autism Oklahoma says families they work with can’t always attend the ballet or other performances. 

“People on the spectrum have a really hard time sometimes with their sensory, with sight and sound and smell, so this performance just allows our families another awesome event out in the community in Oklahoma to be able to enjoy,” said Frost. 

Frost and her son have worked with the dancers for the past few months- to make sure they know what to expect when they hit the stage.  

 “Because the dancers will also hear things out in the audience that they typically wouldn’t hear, if one of our kids or adults are up and walking around or you know, clapping their hands when they shouldn’t,” said Frost. 

The OKC Ballet will be performing the Nutcracker from December 10-18 and the Sensory-friendly performance will be on December 15 at 6 p.m. 


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