Dance Takes Center Stage This Holiday Season


Ballet enthusiasts mark time in terms of a company’s seasons – Spring, Winter, and The Nutcracker. But whether a devotee of ballet or not, The Nutcracker has become the unofficial beginning of the holidays. It is a classic tradition that has weathered the test of time, captivating audiences’ hearts and minds for generations. For adults, it is a return to childhood and an escape from the everyday; for children, it is both a rite of passage and a chance to be transported to a land that offers a rekindling of the imagination. Whether The Nutcracker is a long-standing tradition or a new one, many families will embrace the season, sharing a special memory together.

Philadelphia, not withstanding, has a whole host and range of Nutcracker performances – from dance school productions, to international touring companies, local ballet companies and of course the Pennsylvania Ballet with the classic George Balanchine version. But in addition to the myriad of Nutcracker offerings, Philadelphia offers regional productions that have also become holiday traditions. Such are Dance Del Bello’s Christmas Carol, Eleone Dance Theater’s Carol in Colors and Contempra Dance’s Philly-Nut-Crak-Up.

Below please find our guide to this season’s best. Take a moment to unplug from the television, the internet and cell phones; gather up the kids and family, and start your own special tradition.

For more detailed information and tickets on listings below, we recommend you view the listings on the Philadelphia Dance Calendar.

Pennsylvania Ballet – George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
The magic of the holiday season comes to life on stage as Pennsylvania Ballet and PNC Arts Alive present George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The most beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Philadelphia region returns to the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust streets, December 12 through December 31, 2009.

Dance Del Bello presents A Christmas Carol
The ballet A Christmas Carol, set to the music of Benjamin Britten, was conceived and choreographed by Mr. Kloss upon obtaining the rights from the Dickens family. Declared by Cedric Dickens, great-grandson of Charles Dickens, “a brilliant interpretation” and “…a very happy occasion,” this captivating interpretation sweeps audiences both young and old along with Scrooge on the journey as he confronts a past both joyful and painful, a present of happiness and suffering, a future of loneliness and despair, to the ultimate realization of the joy derived from treating others with kindness and compassion – a timely message indeed. Performances will be held December 11 – 13th at the New Freedom Theatre, 1346 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for students and seniors, and $8 for children under 7 years of age.  Tickets on Dance Box Office.

Contempra Dance – Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up
The Rappin SugarPlum Fairy is back in Philly with her battling Hip Hoppin Rats, City Hall Dolls, Captain Philadelphia and Liberty Belle-Anne for another season of the hilarious holiday dance spoof, ‘Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up’. This crazy holiday take-off of the Nutcracker is based on an original rap song written by the SugarPlum Fairy herself. A story filled with superheroes, kung-fu fighting, and making friends at the Kingdom of Prussia, the “Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up” combine’s comedy, hip-hop, jazz, modern and ballet dance to create a memorable event for our audience. The story is filled with references to local Philadelphia places, personalities, foods and skylines. The Philly Nutt has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Dance Magazine, the City Paper and a feature segment on 6 ABC’s Prime Time Weekly show. Appropriate for all audiences of all ages. Performances are December 11 & 12th at the Mandell Theater, tickets – $25.00 Adults, $22.00 Children/Students. Tickets on Dance Box Office.

Eleone Dance Theatre – Carols in Color
Carols in Color
is a holiday dance musical that retells the gospel according to St. Matthew by using contemporary music, exuberant dance and powerful narration. Carols in Color features the vocals of Veronica Underwood, Dawn Thompson-Blandford, Jeremy Holder, Tina Fink, Tracy Harris, Kairi Guinn, Nieasha Cherry, Aminadab A. Baker and Musical Duo 2Fold and the soul-stirring movements of Eleone Dance Theatre and their second company. December 17 – 21 at The John E. Allen Jr. Theater at Freedom Theatre Phila. PA, for tickets call Brown Paper Tickets: 800-838-3006.

Delaware Valley Dance Academy presents The Nutcracker
Annual holiday favorite for the whole family. December 4th & 5th at the Calvary Church, Rt 113, Souderton, PA 18964. $20.00 Adults | $16.00 Children/Seniors. Info:

Pages to Pirouettes- The Nutcracker
The abridged version of The Nutcracker brought to life with beautiful costumes and choreography.  An interactive program enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
December 5th at 11am – St. Asaphs Church, 27 Conshohocken State Rd, Bala Cynwyd
December 6th at 2pm – The Free Library, 1901 Vine Street,  Philadelphia – FREE
December 12th at 11am – Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia

Brandywine Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Brandywine Ballet’s The Nutcracker is firmly rooted in the magnificent splendor of the Victorian Era during Act I, transporting audiences to the enchanted Land of Sweets in Act II. Join The Nutcracker cast on a journey full of imagination, in which Toy Soldiers and Mice ballet fiercely, the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns, and an all ages cast of over 80 dancers and actors create pure ballet magic. The Nutcracker, a long running tradition in Chester County and across the country, is sure to delight and set your holiday season off on the right track. December 11-20th at Emilie K. Asplundh Hall, West Chester University, University Ave & High St, West Chester. Tickets $20-$35.

Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company Presents The Nutcracker
Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company will be performing the Nutcracker at the Hill School Center for the Arts, Beech and Sheridan Streets, Pottstown.  Join a cast of over 80 local dancers and guest artists, such as Ruben Ybarra from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, on December 5 at 7:30pm and December 6 at 2:00pm.  Enjoy this classic family favorite with beautifully enhanced choreography by Michelle Jones Wurtz, as well as former Kirov principals Elena Martinson and Andrei Ustinov, just in time for the holidays. $20.00 Adults, $15.00 Students and Seniors.  Tickets on Dance Box Office.

Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania’s production of The Nutcracker
Tara Keating, a member of BalletX and former soloist for the Pennsylvania Ballet, stars in Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’ The Doylestown-based ballet company, under the direction of Marilyn Budzynski, has staged the holiday classic for more than 30 years. December 12th & 13th at Central Bucks HS South, 1100 Folly Road, Warrington $25 adults, $20 students/seniors, $15 groups of 10.

Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine presents The Nutcracker
The world acclaimed Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine will be returning to the Philadelphia area on December 19 for for two performances of ‘The Nutcracker.’   The performance will include eighteen professional dancers from Donetsk who will be sharing the stage with 40 area children.  The company continues to enthrall audiences with their impeccable technique and artistry.  Don’t miss the chance to see a first rate company perform this beautifully staged ballet without paying center city prices.  International Ballet Exchange sponsors the performance. $28 | $18 students/seniors.  December 19th at 2pm at Plymouth/Whitemarsh High School, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting.

Nutcracker 1776
The Rock School for Dance Education presents its unique, family friendly production of Nutcracker 1776. Set against the backdrop of Revolutionary-era Philadelphia, the story follows two children entrusted with a magical key and the “Nutcracker” on the trip of a lifetime, meeting George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and being transported to the wonderful Land of Toys and Sweets. This dynamic, hour-long production is an abridged version of the classic holiday tale and is designed for families with children of all ages. Nutcracker 1776 features a cast of nearly 200 Rock School students, including the School’s pre-professional students and its award-winning prodigies. Students in the production not only hail from Philadelphia, but from across the nation, as well as Colombia, Mexico, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Thailand, Japan, and Canada.  December 5 & 6th at The Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. December 12th & 13th at Centenial Hall at the Haverford School.  Tickets $10-32.

En Pointe Productions – The Nutcracker
Enjoy this classic holiday tradition with En Pointe Productions. Follow Clara and her nutcracker prince as they journey to the land of the sweets.  Saturday December 12, 2008 7:00 PM at the JCC Klein Branch, 10100 Jamison Ave, Philadelphia.  Tickets on Dance Box Office.

Philadelphia Dance Theatre Presents 11th Annual Nutcracker

Perkiomen Valley School District Foundation presents ‘The Nutcracker’ as performed by Philadelphia Dance Theatre, December 12th, with performances at 1PM and 4 PM at the Perkiomen Valley Middle School East, 100 Kagey Road, Collegeville, PA 19426. A Tea with the Nutcracker characters will be held immediately following the 1PM performance. The Philadelphia Dance Theatre strives to provide dancers and audiences the opportunity to experience professional quality productions that are accessible to a broad community that may not otherwise be able to enjoy this experience.  Tickets range from $15-$25 and are available online at or by calling Laura Strausser of the Perkiomen Valley School District Foundation at 610.639.2425.
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