A timeless classic, The Nutcracker is one of the most beloved holiday traditions. With a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the ballet tells the tale of a young girl named Clara, whose innocent world changes before her eyes as she goes on an adventure with her toy nutcracker-turned-prince.
“Everyone is so familiar with the score and the story relates directly to the holiday season,” says Sara Jo Strickland, the director of the Hampton Ballet Theatre School in Bridgehampton. “Many families have a tradition of seeing The Nutcracker every year to kick off their holiday celebrations. It is a magical tale and especially in the second act, which plays to the child’s imagination.” Hampton Ballet Theatre School will give its seventh annual Nutcracker performance at Guild Hall from December 11–13.
The Nutcracker is the story of young heroine Clara, who receives a nutcracker from her godfather Drosselmeyer on Christmas Eve. Adventures, battles and dances with sweets abound when the nutcracker turns into a prince. As the ballet ends, audience members are left to question whether Clara’s experience was a dream or reality.
“The Nutcracker is a tradition for most ballet companies,” continues Strickland. “It is so special because it is a ballet where the students grow up through the roles in the ballet.”
Various companies often put their own spin on their performances, incorporating dancers of all ages. Though character names and select details may change with different productions, the basic plotline tells the same classic tale. If visions of sugarplums are dancing in your head, you’re in luck! The East End plays host to a number of performances this season:
CLARA’S DREAM: THE NUTCRACKER at the Patchogue Theatre
December 4–6. The American Dance Theatre of Long Island (ADTLI) presents the holiday classic at the Patchogue Theatre. 71 East Main Street, Patchogue. For more information, visit patchoguetheatre.org or call 631-207-1313 for additional information.
THE NUTCRACKER at Guild Hall
December 11–13. Check out Hampton Ballet Theatre School’s production of The Nutcracker at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. For more information, visit guildhall.org or call 631-324-0806.
THE NUTCRACKER at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
December 12–13 and December 15. The Peconic Ballet Theatre Residency. Young dancers take the stage. The December 15 show is a special one-hour school-day performance. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. For more information, visit whbpac.org or call 631-288-1500.
SEISKAYA BALLET’S THE NUTCRACKER at the Staller Center
December 18-21. Hailed as the area’s most lavish Nutcracker performance, the Seiskaya Ballet production of the classic holiday ballet returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center. Choreographed by the world-renowned choreographer Valia Seiskaya. For more information, visit nutcrackerballet.com or call 631-632-2787.
MIXED NUTS at Bay Street Theater
December 19–20. A mash up of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Nutcracker. Bay Street Theater, 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. For more information, visit dancestudio3.com, baystreet.org or call 631-537-3008.