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Ballet Austin brings THE NUTCRACKER home for the holidays!

Underwritten by H-E-B and sponsored by UBEO

Ballet Austin is bringing Austin’s favorite holiday tradition, THE NUTCRACKER, “home for the holidays,” by transforming its 58th annual production into an interactive, multi-media experience available to dance lovers around the world. The immersive entertainment offering will be available to audience members in the comfort and safety of their homes and feature

  • Interactive experiences with THE NUTCRACKER’s cast, crew, and artistic team;
  • Signature dances and scenes from THE NUTCRACKER, including examples of storytelling, choreography, and costuming reimagined for the 21st century;
  • Favorite Nutcracker holiday traditions, including culinary tips and treats, performance-themed arts and crafts, family-friendly games and activities, and enrichment opportunities for all ages;
  • Dozens of video-on-demand featurettes, taking audience members into the magical world of THE NUTCRACKER through cast interviews, studio rehearsals, production tricks of the trade, music tutorials, and loads of behind-the-scenes “extras.”

Additionally, audience members will be invited to join the celebration and share their favorite Nutcracker memories through dozens of virtual events hosted by Ballet Austin.

 “THE NUTCRACKER – Home for the Holidays” will be offered in place of the ballet company’s live stage performances at the Long Center and allows Ballet Austin to continue its Nutcracker tradition, the longest-running in the State of Texas, in a safe manner that’s in keeping with state health recommendations prohibiting large public gatherings and mandating social distancing.

Details about “THE NUTCRACKER – Home for the Holidays” will be released in the coming weeks, including information about how to access the vast selection of multi-media content and interactive experiences. Ballet Austin season ticket holders with tickets to THE NUTCRACKER will be given complimentary access to the experience.

Learn more from Artistic Director Stephen Mills

More on the inspiration for “THE NUTCRACKER – Home for the Holidays” from Artistic Director Stephen Mills…


THE NUTCRACKER is a treasured annual experience for tens of thousands of Texans, and the health and safety of our audience members, dancers, student performers, musicians, production crew, and front-of-house staff is of utmost importance to us and why we must find new ways to explore our Nutcracker tradition during a global pandemic that has significantly affected our city and state.

Ballet Austin’s production of THE NUTCRACKER features more than 200 individuals on stage, including approximately 140 student dancers from the Ballet Academy. Ballet dancing requires strenuous, aerobic activity and close contact among performers. Behind the scenes and in the orchestra pit, you’ll find dozens of musicians, stage crew members, and Ballet Austin administrative and customer service staff, working in close proximity. We’ve not yet reached the stage in our community-wide recovery from the coronavirus where we can safely rehearse and perform a show of THE NUTCRACKER’s magnitude without risking the health and safety of our artists, crew, and staff.

As a nonprofit arts organization, our most important mission is to perform and share the joy of dance with our community,” Mills continued. “We are excited by the opportunity to re-envision this seasonal classic in ways that expand the art and the celebration beyond our theater walls and into households across the country. I’ve engaged every Ballet Austin dancer and team member in the effort to design and implement what will be an extraordinary array of interactive experiences that highlight the artistry, creativity, curiosity, hospitality, and hilarity that THE NUTCRACKER inspires. This will be one of our most collaborative endeavors in Ballet Austin’s more than 60-year history and one that involves the audience like never before! We can’t wait for Nutcracker lovers and their families to revisit this special tradition in a transformative, new way.

Our Ballet Austin family looks forward to sharing this special experience with you and yours this holiday season!

Warm regards,

STEPHEN MILLS
Sarah & Ernest Family Fund Artistic Director

Images from THE NUTCRACKER by Anne Marie Bloodgood

Meet the Artists Behind THE NUTCRACKER

STEPHEN MILLS
Choreography

PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Music

Artists' Background Info

Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertoires of dance companies across the United States and around the world.

His international career began in 1998 after being chosen Prix d’Auteur at les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris.  In his inaugural season as Artistic Director of Ballet Austin in 2000, Mills attracted national attention with Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as “…sleek and sophisticated.”

Mills’ works showcased at The Kennedy Center include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and performances at the Ballet Across America Festival in collaboration with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

In 2005 Mills developed a community-wide human rights collaborative dialogue culminating in his signature work Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project for which he received the Audrey and Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award from The Anti-Defamation League. Mills contributed a podcast about Light to the Voices on Anti-Semitism series at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and was invited to speak about the work at The United Nations in 2014.  Light has been performed in five U.S. cities, in three cities in Israel, and was recently featured in an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary, Sharing Light.

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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history. His work for ballet includes THE NUTCRACKER, THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, and SWAN LAKE.

Tchaikovsky was born on May 7, 1840, in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka, Russia. He was the second eldest of his parents’ six surviving offspring. Tchaikovsky’s father, Ilya, worked as a mine inspector and metal works manager.

When he was 5 years old, Tchaikovsky began taking piano lessons. Although he displayed an early passion for music, his parents hoped that he would grow up to work in the civil service. At the age of 10, Tchaikovsky began attending the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, a boarding school in St. Petersburg. His mother, Alexandra, died of cholera in 1854, when he was 14 years old. In 1859, Tchaikovsky honored his parents’ wishes by taking up a bureau clerk post with the Ministry of Justice, a post he would hold for four years, during which time he became increasingly fascinated with music.

When he was 21, Tchaikovsky decided to take music lessons at the Russian Musical Society. A few months later, he enrolled at the newly founded St. Petersburg Conservatory, becoming one of the school’s first composition students. In addition to learning while at the conservatory, Tchaikovsky gave private lessons to other students. In 1863, he moved to Moscow, where he became a professor of harmony at the Moscow Conservatory.

Acclaim came readily for Tchaikovsky in 1875, with his composition Symphony No. 3 in D Major. At the end of that year, the composer embarked on a tour of Europe. In 1876, he completed the ballet SWAN LAKE as well as the fantasy FRANCESCA DA RIMINI. While the former has come to be one of the most frequently performed ballets of all time, Tchaikovsky again endured the ire of critics, who at its premiere panned it as too complex and too “noisy.”

Tchaikovsky resigned from the Moscow Conservatory in 1878 to focus his efforts entirely on composing. As a result, he spent the remainder of his career composing more prolifically than ever. His collective body of work constitutes 169 pieces, including symphonies, operas, ballets, concertos, cantatas, and songs. Among his most famed late works are the ballets THE SLEEPING BEAUTY (1890) and THE NUTCRACKER (1892).

He died in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 6, 1893.

Biographical excerpts courtesy of biography.com.

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