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Pennsylvania Ballet Performs Holiday Favorite, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker


Photo Courtesy of the PA BalletThe Tree Lighting Ceremony in Rittenhouse Square and the Macy’s Light Show aren’t the only Christmas rituals in which native Philadelphians partake each holiday season. With its fairy-tale story and music by one of the world’s greatest composers, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker has become a Christmas tradition for thousands of people in the City of Brotherly Love. 

“Being part of the holiday tradition for families is very gratifying,” said Roy Kaiser, artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet. “Every time that curtain goes up, each live performance is totally different.” 

The enchanting story begins with a grand party scene where young Marie receives a precious nutcracker from her godfather, Herr Drosselmeier. As the clock strikes midnight, Marie dreams of her Nutcracker Prince battling the Mouse King, and then she travels through the glistening snow into the wondrous Land of Sweets. There, she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier, a troupe of twirling and jumping candy canes, waltzing flowers and a glittering cast of characters that only dreams are made of. 

Steeped in tradition yet revitalized by stunning new sets and costumes in 2007, The Nutcracker charms young and old audiences alike. In the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production, the voices of the Philadelphia Boys Choir complement Tchaikovsky’s musical score. Balanchine’s timeless choreography is interpreted by Pennsylvania Ballet’s dancers, to the delight of nearly 50,000 people each year. 

Photo Courtesy of the PA Ballet

Earlier this season, the Pennsylvania Ballet was invited to take The Nutcracker on the road to one of the most prestigious performing arts venues in the country — The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. This was the first time that Balanchine’s choreography had been performed in the nation’s capital. This year’s cast includes 40 children and 40 adults, represented by two casts of the younger dancers. 

Performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will be held at the Academy of Music on the following dates and times: 

Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 13 at noon and 4 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 20 at noon and 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 24 at noon
Saturday, Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 27 at noon and 4 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 29 at noon and 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 30 at noon and 4 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 31 at noon 

Tickets for are on sale now at www.paballet.org or by calling (215) 893-1999. Ticket prices range from $24 to $129. Groups of 10 or more can purchase discounted tickets by calling (215) 587-6921.


Related Events 

Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy

Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. (Choose the noon or 4 p.m. performance)

Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. (Choose the noon or 4 p.m. performance)

Enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker and join the Sugarplum Fairy for a special tea at the Doubletree Hotel, just across the street from the Academy of Music. Package price for parquet seating is $110, balcony seating is $101, and family circle seating is $85. Package includes sandwiches, an array of desserts, tea, hot cocoa and more. To order tickets, call (215) 587-6921.


Nutcracker Brunch at the Omni Hotel at Independence Park

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2010

Noon Brunch, 3 p.m. performance

Celebrate the holidays with “Philadelphia’s Best Brunch” at the Omni Hotel. Special visits by the Sugarplum Fairy, the Mouse King and Santa Claus will delight the family while they savor a lavish buffet of specialty dishes and gourmet treats. Then enjoy a matinee performance of The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music. Package price is $115 for adults and $98 for children ages 3 to 12. Valet parking at the Omni Hotel is included. Order tickets at www.paballet.org or by calling (215) 587-6921.