You'd think that if anybody could dance through a snowstorm, it would be members of the Moscow Ballet.
But the pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the area forced the cancellation of the troupe's performances of "The Nutcracker" at the Lyric Opera House until this weekend. And now there's more lousy weather predicted.
Nevertheless, performances set for Saturday and Sunday will go on.
"There is a certain romanticism of the Moscow Ballet riding in on a snowstorm," said associate producer Dan Talmi in a telephone call from the back of the tour bus, heading north from Florida to Charlottesville, Va., and then to Baltimore.
"And a little snow never hurt anybody."
The snow did put a pinch in the pocket of the company, which has had to cancel only two other shows in the last 17 years.
Dancers and crew scampered out of the Lyric at about noon on Saturday, Dec. 19, just as the snowstorm was hitting its stride. The troupe rescheduled shows up and down the East Coast and extended its U.S. stay until Monday, when the dancers and crew will return to Moscow - more than a week late.
"We tracked the storm minute by minute on the drive from New Jersey that Friday," said Talmi.
"We were biting our nails, but we went with the plan of going ahead.
"We had about half the orchestra in the hall, the dancers were stretching, the kids had their makeup on when they ordered us out," said Talmi.
The company of 35 dancers and 11 crew members holed up in their Baltimore hotel, unable to get out until Monday. The Charlottesville show was next, but it was rescheduled as well. "They got even more snow," Talmi said.
So the company simply headed to Florida for shows there. The cast was confused by the cancellation, Talmi said.
"It is just like home for some of the cast. The drops were up, the lights were up and you could hear the violins tuning. Baltimore is traditionally one of the biggest days financially. And it is one of the most prestigious stops," said Talmi.
"Of all the days to snow, why was it Baltimore?"
The Lyric immediately announced the new dates and promised all tickets would be honored. And the opera house management was able to reschedule the R&B; Soul Explosion, featuring Monica, which was originally scheduled for this weekend.
"In the spirit of the holiday, everyone worked together," said marketing manager Nicoletta Macris.
Perhaps Mother Nature will be in the spirit of cooperation, too. Earlier predictions of a New Year's Eve snowstorm arriving from the South have been tempered, and now forecasters are predicting rain. Temperatures, however, will hover at freezing and below, making travel uncertain.
It is not likely to stop the Moscow company, however, which plans to travel to Baltimore Friday night, after its show in Charlottesville, and be ready to perform for the Saturday matinee.
Then it is home to Moscow on Monday after a tour that began in upstate New York in early November. Said Talmi: "That seems like a long time ago."
If you go
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore
Performances: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices range from $24.50 to $84.50 and may be purchased at the Lyric box office, by phone at 410-547-SEAT or online at lyricoperahouse.com. If you purchased tickets for the canceled shows, you can bring those original tickets to the corresponding rescheduled performance for admission.