Land of the Bittersweet: COVID's Effect on Nutcracker

To some dancers, a winter without The Nutcracker may seem like a gift. No Tchaikovsky on an endless loop. No missing real parties to dance in the party scene. No pulling fake snow out of your hair. It’s the stuff that burned-out ballerinas might dream about in mid-December. But, true to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original “Nutcracker […]

5 Veteran Ballet Dancers on What It Takes to Survive Nutcracker

Few people who are busier during the holidays than corps members of American ballet companies. December is officially Nutcracker season—a company’s chance to earn a huge chunk of their revenue for the year, and a dancer’s chance to go a little, ahem, nuts, waltzing and swallowing fake snow night after night for weeks on end. […]

How Can Companies Retain Family Audiences Post-Nutcracker?

Most ballet administrators will admit that they hear the tinkling of a celesta each December and think “Ka-ching!” Performing The Nutcracker generates revenue to fund the remainder of many companies’ seasons. But what if families didn’t wait 12 months to return? While not every 6-year-old is ready to sit through Swan Lake, some enterprising troupes […]

For the First Time Ever, Dayton Ballet Has a Female Nutcracker

A few months ago, Dayton Ballet’s artistic director, Karen Russo Burke, approached Miranda Dafoe with an unorthodox idea: She wanted to cast a woman in the role of the Nutcracker in the company’s holiday production, and she was tapping Dafoe. “I honestly was pretty shocked,” says the Dayton Ballet dancer. “But the more I thought […]

Celebrating 75 Years of Sugar Plum

America’s oldest Nutcracker celebrates its milestone 75th anniversary this month. Willam Christensen created his production for San Francisco Ballet in 1944—the first full-length version in the U.S.—but it has been a fixture of Ballet West’s repertory since 1963, when he became the company’s founding artistic director. The tradition that launched our nationwide holiday fixation on […]

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