Each year, parents, grandparents, and siblings of The Nutcracker cast, along with individuals from the community who love the ballet and are interested in volunteering, contribute hundreds of hours to create a successful, professional production. Volunteer opportunities include: working in the boutique, helping with costumes, assisting with logistics, and wrangling the younger dancers. For additional information about teaching, volunteer, and performance opportunities, see below.

Teaching opportunities available with Champaign Urbana Ballet. To apply, submit your resume to cuballet@gmail.com.

Boutique Lead

The boutique is all about selling merchandise – tutus, Nutcrackers, decorated pointe shoes and more. All proceeds benefit CU Ballet’s Tickets for Families (TFF), a program awarding Nutcracker tickets to elementary and pre-school students who are defined by their schools as "at risk" because of financial difficulties and/or hearing, speech or physical disabilities, along with veterans and their families. Boutique volunteers are needed at every performance, and being part of the boutique is a great way to get a sneak peek at the new merchandise while supporting CU Ballet!

It takes skilled sewers, crafty glue-gunners, and reliable steamers and ironers to get our dancers costumed to CU Ballet's standards. Here are some of the many tasks regularly performed by our amazing corps of costume volunteers:

  • Measuring dancers accurately and efficiently.
  • Assisting at costume fittings.
  • Note takers, labelers, and seam rippers are a huge help to the more seasoned costumer who will be pinning and marking.
  • Hand sewing: from the basic (sewing name labels, snaps, and hooks & bars, mending tears, fixing trim and bead work) to the more complicated (cross-stitching bodice facings, sewing bodices to tutus).
  • Dyeing and painting.
  • Ironing and steaming.
  • Repairing headpieces and miscellaneous trim using a glue gun.
  • Machine sewing: basic (straight seams and minor alterations); more advanced (new costumes, dealing with multiple layers of tulle or super tough spandex); and serging (the ultimate power tool!).
  • Organizing our supply bins and drawers.
  • Doing some advance work on our spring show. Yes—there is CU Ballet life after The Nutcracker.
Logistics Lead, Brett Feddersen

Staging The Nutcracker and the spring production takes a lot of stuff. Some of it is what you'd expect - like costumes and props. Some of it is unusual - a dragon, an electric scooter tricked out to look like a ship, and a cannon. The Logistics Crew, with the help of Two Men and a Truck, brings all costumes, props, and sets to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts where their stage hands and our volunteers work together to move everything to the Tryon Festival Theater stage.

Here are some of the ways you might help:

  •  Assist in loading props, sets, and additional items housed at CU Ballet
  •  Help with loading in props, sets and additional items at Krannert (Nutcracker) or the Virginia Theatre (spring production)
  •  Unpack and assemble props and additional scene parts
  •  Following the performances load out at Krannert or Virginia Theatre and unload at CU Ballet
Head Wrangler, Ali Lewis

Wrangling our youngest cast members is an exciting and up close volunteer position for female adults in our volunteer families. Backstage, wranglers handle makeup and costumes, while keeping our young dancers safe and happy for their big moments on stage. Wranglers are led by an experienced Head Wrangler who monitors timing for stage entry/exit and guideother wranglers with specifics for getting children stage-ready. If you enjoy young children, are attentive, and eager for a glimpse of the stage from the wings, you might consider wrangling!

Auditions for CU Ballet productions are held in August of each year for dancers ages 10 and up with experience. Auditions for dancers ages 5-10, with and without experience, are held on the Saturday following Labor Day. CU Ballet, in partnership with The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and Krannert Center for The Performing Arts, presents The Nutcracker each December. In addition, CU Ballet presents a spring ballet at the Virginia Theatre in May of each year. For additional information about auditions email kay@cuballet.com.