Dance favorites and The Nutcracker mark the return of the holiday season in Philadelphia


With its unforgettable music, enchanting story and the vivid imagery, “The Nutcracker” has become synonymous with the holiday season. It is a classic tradition that has weathered the test of time, captivating audiences’ hearts and minds for generations.

Philadelphia offers a whole host of Nutcracker productions – from dance school performances, to international touring companies, local companies and of course the highly acclaimed Pennsylvania Ballet.

But in addition to the myriad of Nutcracker offerings, Philadelphia’s dance community offers up a host of other 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 is our annual 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.

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Pennsylvania Ballet
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker ™
Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
December 8, 2012 to December 30, 2012
Join us as we celebrate 25 years of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. Journey to the wondrous Land of Sweets for the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition. Follow Marie and her Prince through the dazzling party scene, a harrowing battle, a glistening forest full of snow, and into the Sugarplum Fairy’s kingdom. Spectacular sets and costumes make this 44-year-old tradition sparkle like new. The Philadelphia Boys choir and dozens of local dance students add to the enchantment. See why so many make memories with this production.

A Philadelphia Nutcracker
Philadelphia Dance Theatre
Friday November 23rd at 7:00 pm,
Saturday November 24th at 1:00 pm,
Saturday November 24th at 4:00 pm,
The Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts,
William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Philadelphia Dance Theatre will be presenting a new version of their annual Nutcracker. Artistic Director, Joy Delaney Capponi, conceived a production of The Nutcracker created to capture our own historic community and neighborhood. Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill have a rich history to be shared and celebrated. After ten years of presenting a very traditional Nutcracker, Capponi felt the inspiration to tailor-make PDT’s Nutcracker in this way tangential to the recent opening of the Kurtz Center at the William Penn Charter School, where PDT now regularly performs. With the new wonderful performing arts theater in the community, the timing was ripe for this new and vital work to be presented.

The Nutcracker
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA
November 16-November 18, 2012
The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center presents the Greater Philadelphia Region’s first holiday performance of The Nutcracker performed by the classically trained dancers of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society. The performance is 90 minutes with intermission and appropriate for ages four and up.

The Nutcracker
The Schuylkill Regional Dance Company
The Hill Center for the Arts, Beech and Sheridan Streets, Pottstown, PA 19464
Dec. 1 at  7:30pm
Dec. 2 at 2pm
The Schuylkill Regional Dance Company presnets this holiday favorite.  See original choreogrpahy by Andrei Ustinov and Elena Martinson of the Kirov Ballet, enahanced by moments of the original Petipa work.

The Nutcracker
Brandywine Ballet
by Donna Muzio and Nancy Page, Music by Tchaikovsky
Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 700 South High Street, West Chester, PA  19383
December 7th – December 16th
In its 33rd year of production, Brandywine Ballet’s run of The Nutcracker continues to play to capacity audiences each December, attracting and retaining new fans from across the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, which follows young Clara as she is transported from a whimsical holiday party in Victorian England to the enchanted Land of the Sweets. Join Clara for a marvelous journey, in which Toy Soldiers and Mice ballet fiercely, the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns supreme, and an all-ages cast of over 80 dancers and actors create pure balletic magic on stage. As the narrative unfolds, comical high jinx, holiday fun, and lavishly genteel romance transpire against a backdrop of antique decors and picturesquely animated action. All of the elements combine to make Brandywine Ballet’s The Nutcracker a favorite among local audiences.

The Nutcracker
Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania
Central Bucks High School South, 1100 Folly Road, Warrington, PA 18976
December 9th – 16th
After sell-out crowds last season, the Doylestown-based ballet company will again present four shows of the two-act, Tchaikovsky ballet. Staged by artistic director Marilyn Budzynski, the production will feature more than 30 Dance Theatre members, plus guest artists from some of the country’s top ballet companies. Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker is known throughout the area for its lavish costumes and sets, as well as breath-taking corps de ballet ensembles and show-stopping numbers like the high-flying Russian dance and exotic Arabian pas de deux. Families have been enjoying this holiday classic with Dance Theatre for generations. In Bucks and Montgomery counties, no other dance company has been performing the Nutcracker longer than Dance Theatre.

The Nutcracker
Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
December 15, 2012  6:30 PM
December 16, 2012  2PM
Artistic Director, Vadim Pisarev, will be bringing the world renowned Donetsk Ballet to the USA directly from Ukraine for their annual tour of The Nutcracker.  Eighteen professional dancers will grace the stage with 40 area ballet students who will dance the children’s parts. The company regularly tours Europe and Asia as well as the US and has had several principal dancers who have won medals in international competitions. The company excites audiences with exceptional technique and artistry, beautiful sets and costumes.  Don’t miss this unique version of the holiday favorite as it continues to thrill audiences year to year.  The production is sponsored by International Ballet Exchange.

3rd Annual Production of The Nutcracker
The Philadelphia Dance Academy and The Philadelphia Youth Ballet
Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Dance Academy and The Philadelphia Youth Ballet present their 3rd annual production of The Nutcracker, with performances by Dance Academy students, Youth Ballet members, and professional and pre-professional guest artists. The Philadelphia Dance Academy is located in the heart of Old City and is home to The Philadelphia Youth Ballet, our youth company. Our goal is to provide professional training in a positive environment for students of all levels.

Ballet in HD – The Nutcracker
Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
December 23rd at 1pm
A magician with secrets, an enchanted gift, a guiding angel and a visit through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets: it must be the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. This now-classic Royal Ballet production creates the world of the 19th-century onstage, with a Christmas tree that magically grows and toy soldiers that come to life! Performed in London, this performance features music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreography by  Peter Wright (after Lev Ivanov) with principle dancers Roberta Marquez, and Steven McRae.

The Nutcracker
Pages to Pirouettes
December 15th at 11am – Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
December 16th at 2pm – The Free Library, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Come see and dance with us! Pages to Pirouettes performs the abridged version of The Nutcracker.  Listen to the story being told and then magically brought to life with beautiful costumes and music.  An interactive program for audiences of all ages.


180 Dance Company
A Holiday Performance at West Chester’s Old Fashioned Christmas
Chester County Historical Society, 225 N. High Street, West Chester, Pa.
Friday, November 30th at 5:15pm, 6:15pm, 7:15pm
Please join 180 Dance Company for any of our three free performances taking place at the Chester County Historical Society before and during West Chester’s Old Fashioned Christmas Parade. These performances will include work to a medley of cheerful Christmas music.

Christmas with CoEXIST
Philadelphia’s Christmas Village
1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19102
Friday, December 7th @ 6pm
Please join CoEXISTdance, Inc. for their holiday-inspired performance in a magical place, Christmas Village! Our performance will feature new modern dance pieces and guest dancers from Delaware County Performing Arts.

180 Dance Company
A Holiday Performance for “Philly’s Got Talent”
LOVE Park, Christmas Village Philadelphia
Wednesday, December 12 at 6:00pm
Please join 180 Dance Company in Love Park for a free performance with work to a medley of cheerful Christmas music. The performance will take place near the “LOVE Sign,” amidst over 60 wooden booths with vendors selling traditional European food, drinks, and holiday gifts.
Winter Soltice Celebration with Collaboration Station 
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia 
December 19 at 7:00 pm
COLLABORATION STATION will debut a new piece of music and dance at Poet-tree en Motion, a free community performance curated by Plum Dragoness. The piece celebrates the winter solstice through vignettes about the awkwardness of being alive. This project is the dance and music effort of Erika Barrington, Gina Fontana, Julie Lipson, Caryn Monta, Katelyn Reiersen, Emily Sheehan, Ben Storey, and Mira Treatman. Also performing are Hennessey Bonfire, Rigger, and Plum Dragoness.

ContempraDance Theatre’s “Philly Nutt Crak-Up”
Keswick Theatre,
291 N Keswick Ave, Glenside, PA  19038
December 15 at 7:30pm and  December 16 at 2:00pm
The Rappin SugarPlum Fairy is back 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”. The story is filled with references to local Philadelphia places, personalities, foods and skylines. Philly Nutt has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Dance Magazine, the City Paper, a feature segment on 6 ABC’s Prime Time Weekly show, Dec. 2007 and NBC’s 10 show, Dec. 2009. Appropriate for all ages!

Carols In Color
Eleone Dance Theater
The Kurtz Center for The Performing Arts, 3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Saturday, December 15 and 16, 2012 at 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Carols In Color is a holiday dance musical that tells the gospel according to St. Matthew by using contemporary music, exuberant dance and powerful narration. The production features a number of Philadelphia’s premiere vocalists and the soul stirring movements of Eleone Dance Theater.

Mixed Nuts
Dance Fusion
The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130
December 9th at 6pm
Dancefusion will presented MIXED NUTS a Holiday performance and fundraiser. The event will feature Dancefusion’s company in an excerpt of Pauline Koner’s Concertino and the junior company, fusion2 along with 40 students from the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center in an assortment of Nutcracker vignettes.

A Christmas Carol
The Ballet by David Kloss
Dance Del Bello
Bucks County Community College, Gateway Auditorium, Newtown, PA
December 15th at 7pm
A unique, innovative and must-see way: as a ballet. Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future chase away the bah-humbugs with a ballet adaptation of this holiday favorite. “It’s familiar, yet new,” Delphine Del Bello Spencer says. “It’s simply a beautiful and splendid adaptation of a classic story.” “While its themes may be seasonal, its lessons are timeless,” said Ms. Spencer, who is the artistic director of Dance Del Bello

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for publishing this each year! It is a terrific guide and each year my family and I pick 2 productions from your list to attend. Our holiday tradition has been picking shows from your list!

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