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Washington Ballet's "The Nutcracker" With No Musicians

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By Stephanie Kaye

Budget cuts are bringing many changes to the holidays this year, including those at The Washington Ballet. For the first time in their 34-year history, the sugar plum fairies of The Washington Ballet will be dancing to pre-recorded music. This year's "Nutcracker" won't have any live musicians.

John Cusick represents orchestra members with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Federation of Musicians. "It's a half a month's work for the musicians. You can imagine in your job or mine, if we were laid off for two weeks in December we'd be having a pretty rough time," says Cusick.

Cusick says the ballet told the union it lost $1 million worth of funding from the city and couldn't afford a live orchestra.

Performances begin in Southeast D.C. at THEARC arts center next weekend.

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