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Contest Begins for Ballet Austinís Coveted Mother Ginger Crown
Ballet Austin

October, 2011

WHO:             Ballet Austin

WHAT:           Ballet Austin Hosts “Austin’s Mother Ginger Contest” for The Nutcracker

WHEN:           Nominations:  Only Until midnight, November 2

                        Voting: November 9-30

                        Announcement of the winner: December 1

Performance: December 22 at 7:30pm

WHERE:         The Long Center for the Performing Arts, Michael & Susan Dell Hall


AUSTIN, Texas—October 31, 2011—As Ballet Austin brings the 49th Annual Production of The Nutcracker to The Long Center for the Performing Arts, the community will “cast” the beloved role of Mother Ginger in one of the season’s final performances.


Ballet Austin welcomes “Austin’s choice” Mother Ginger to the stage for the December 22 performance, honoring an outstanding citizen with a proven record of community service, completing the cast of more than 200 professional dancers and Ballet Austin Academy students. Voting will take place on Ballet Austin’s website.


The Mother Ginger role, filled each performance by notable Austinites, has become an anticipated part of Ballet Austin’s annual production. The role is a non-speaking/non-dancing part involving a colorful head dress, elaborate make-up and an appearance on stage for a 3 minute “performance.” Mother Ginger sits high atop the 8-foot dress in an outrageously oversized costume, from which a score of brightly-colored “Bon-Bon” children emerge and dance playfully during the second act, accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. No dancing, acting, or speaking skills required.

This nightly-changing cameo role of notable Austin personalities has become a unique part of Ballet Austin’s interpretation of the 1891 masterpiece. Former guest Mother Gingers include: The late Governor Ann Richards, Lance Armstrong, Michael Dell, Luci Baines Johnson, Robert Rodriguez, Molly Ivins, and Mayor Leffingwell.


Last year’s “Austin’s Mother Ginger Contest” winner was Jeanne Goka, principal of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. This year’s lucky contest winner will join the Mother Ginger 2011 ranks of Texas Senator Kirk Watson, Formula 1 United States Chairman Tavo Hellmund, GSD&M Co-founder Tim McClure, and U.S. Army Colonel Kenny Crawford.


Nominations for “Austin’s Mother Ginger Contest” can be submitted starting now at or via email (see below) and will be due before the stroke of midnight November 2. Finalists will be announced Wednesday, November 9, and public voting will immediately begin. Voting will end on November 22 and a winner will be announced December 1.


Participants may nominate themselves or others. Nominees’ names/photos/brief bios will be placed on a webpage ballot for city-wide voting.  The public may vote once a day during the voting period. Candidates must be available on the day/time of the 7:30pm performance on December 22. If a chosen finalist cannot appear, Ballet Austin will default to the next most popular candidate. Ballet Austin reserves the right to decline to accept a nominee for any reason.



The winning candidate will appear on stage for the 7:30 pm December 22 performance of The Nutcracker. The selected Mother Ginger will also win 8 box seat tickets for their performance, access to a VIP dressing room prior to their performance, a discount code for all other friends and family, a gift basket including Butler Community School Class-Cards and merchandise as well as a commemorative photo and video of themselves in costume. The experience for Austin’s Mother Ginger will be one to remember.


How to Nominate

Submit a nominee for consideration at or send the following information to


1.      Name of Nominee

2.      Community involvement:  List up to 5 organizations with which the nominee is involved

3.      Headshot of nominee (must be at least 50k file when cropped, no more than 4mb)


Also, to be used ONLY to contact the nominees or winner (Not for publication or commercial use):

1.      Email of nominee

2.      Phone # of nominee

3.      Name of person nominating

4.      Email of person nominating

5.      Relation to nominee


History of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet is based on the book called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" written by E.T.A. Hoffman. In 1891, the legendary choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write the music for The Nutcracker ballet. In 1892, the first showing of The Nutcracker took place at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia, home of the Kirov Ballet. The production made its way to Western Europe in the 1930's and to America by 1940, performed by Ballet Russe.


The first American full-length production was performed by the San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by W. Christensen. The Nutcracker has since become an annual holiday tradition. A selection of eight of the more popular numbers from the ballet was made by the composer, forming “The Nutcracker Suite,” designed for concert performance. Ballet Austin’s production is the longest running production of The Nutcracker in the state of Texas.



As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its "classically innovative" vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, and one of the nation's largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center and Community School in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and artistic director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin "a company with big ambitions" originating work that is "absorbing." 



501 West Third Street

Austin, Texas 78701


Box Office:         512.476.2163

Academy:          512.476.9051 

General info:      512.476.9151


IMAGES/B-ROLL:    Email LuAnn Glowacz or view our

downloadable image library (Photo credit: Tony Spielberg):


MEDIA:                     Contact LuAnn Glowacz (; 512.476.9151,

ext. 101) to schedule an interview or other media coverage.


Production Sponsors             Silicon Labs, Broaddus & Associates, HEB, Soleil Restaurant, Wells Fargo, Texas Gas Service, Time Warner Cable, Univision

Season Underwriter             Austin Ventures

Season Sponsors                   Vintage IT Services, The Ampersand Agency, Reavis

Rehab and Wellness Center, Inc., Get Page One, YNN

Media Sponsors                    KVUE, Austin American-Statesman, MAJIC 95.5

Education Underwriter        JPMorgan Chase Foundation



This project is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division, by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, and by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.


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