Philadelphia Dance Traditions Kick Off The Holiday Season

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 Kùlú Mèlé’s Let The Roots Show,  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.



Pennsylvania Ballet
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
Delight in the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. A must-see for children and adults alike, this production boasts glittering sets and costumes, world-class dancing, dozens of young students from The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and all the flair of a Broadway spectacular. The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and Philadelphia Boys Choir bring the masterful Tschaikovsky score to life. Get lost in the story of Marie’s magical gift, a suspenseful battle between soldiers and mice, and the dreamy Land of Sweets. Plus, there’s no more enchanting setting than the breathtaking Academy of Music.

December 7-December 29, 2013
Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Tickets start at $30



Delaware Valley Dance Academy presents The Nutcracker
Join us for this favorite holiday treat set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score and performed by over 100 of the area’s fines dancers. After dancing the night away at her family’s holiday party, Clara embarks on a thrilling adventure that takes her into battle with giant mice, through an enchanted forest and into the magical Land of Sweets. DVDA’s Nutcracker is a festive and magical way to ring in the holiday season and to introduce children to the power and beauty of ballet. Children from 3 to 93 will be mesmerized by the costumes, beautiful music and exceptional dancing in this lavish production.

Friday December 6th at 7:30 pm
Saturday December 7th at 1:30 pm
Adult – $25
Child/Student (up to age 18) /Seniors – $21



Nutcracker 1776
The Rock School for Dance Education’s annual holiday spectacular- is a dazzling performance capturing the awe-inspiring talent in ballet. The professionally trained, international students of The Rock School will take the audience on an enchanted journey as they dance as magical fairies, toy soldiers and Founding Fathers. Taking elements from George Balanchine’s Nutcracker and infusing them with themes from Philadelphia’s rich history, this 70 minute performance will entertain audience members of all ages.

December 7, 2013 at 1:00pm & 4pm
Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
$10, $20, $30, $40

December 14 & 15, 2013 at 1:00pm & 4pm
Centennial Hall at the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, PA 19003
$15 and $25



Pottstown Dance Theatre – The Nutcracker Suite – A Christmas Extravaganza
Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble presents the Nutcracker Suite: A Christmas extravaganza with choreography by former Kirov principles Andrei Ustinov and Elena Martinson. This eclectic concert is under the direction of international dance artist, Michelle Jones Wurtz.

December 7, 2013 at 7:30pm
December 8,2013  at 3:00pm
Pottstown High School, 750 N. Washington St., Pottstown, PA 19464



The Philadelphia Dance Academy – 4th Annual Nutcracker
The Philadelphia Dance Academy and The Philadelphia Youth Ballet present their 4th annual production of The Nutcracker, with performances by Dance Academy students, Youth Ballet members, and professional guest artists.

Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:00pm
Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 12:30pm, 3:00pm & 6:00pm



International Ballet Classique Presents The Nutcracker Ballet
International Ballet Classique (IBC) celebrates the holidays with IBC’s Artistic Director Denis Gronostayskiy’s  beloved production of The Nutcracker Ballet performed in the finest traditions of the Bolshoi. IBC’s full length production has been seen by over 15,000 people in our region since its premiere ten years ago. The enchanting story of Clara’s adventures with her Nutcracker doll, the Rat King and the Sugar Plum Fairy is a superb visual feast!  Surrender to the magic and become swept into the excitement of the holiday season with exquisite dance artistry, vivid sets, and gorgeous costumes designed by IBC’s Ballet Mistress Anastasia Babayeva, a former Soloist with the internationally acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet Company.

Friday, December 13th at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 14th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, December 15th at 2:00pm
Abridged performance for school children are on Thursday, December 12th at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Meagher Theatre at Neuman College, 1 Neuman Drive, Aston, PA
Adult: $20.00; Senior: $16.00; Student: $16.00



The Nutcracker with the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine
Eighteen professional dancers from the world renowned Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine will perform the holiday classic”The Nutcracker” with 50 local dance students from the 5 county area.  There will be only two performances.  The company delights audiences everywhere with their impeccable technique and artistry.  This annual production is presented by International Ballaet Exchange.

Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 2:00pm & 6:30pm
Plymouth/Whitemarsh High School, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462



A Philadelphia Nutcracker Ballet
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.

November 29th at 7 pm
November 30th at 1pm and 4pm
The Kurtz Center, Wm. Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144
$25 for adults $20 for seniors, students, children


Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania presents The Nutcracker
Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania returns with its acclaimed production of “The Nutcracker.” After sell-out crowds last season, The Doylestown-based not-for profit ballet company will again present 4 shows of the two act, Tchaikovsky ballet. Staged by Artistic Director Marilyn Budzynski, the production will feature more than 30 Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania members and guest artists. This year’s production will feature performances by Jaime Lennon of Ballet X and James Ihde, soloist with The Pennsylvania Ballet.  DToP’s The 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. DToP provides valuable, pre-professional stage experience for dancers and affordable, quality dance performances to the community. Marilyn Budzynski, formerly with the Pennsylvania Ballet and the New York City Ballet Repertoire, serves as DToP’s Artistic Director and Choreographer.
Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11am & 3pm
Sunday, December 15, 2012 at 12pm & 4pm
Central Bucks High School South, 1100 Folly Road, Warrington, PA 18976
Tickets start at $15





Kùlú Mèlé’ African Dance and Drum Ensemble presents Let the Roots Show 2013
Let the Roots Show 2013, presented by PNC Arts Alive, will feature a new piece from Emmy-nominated choreographer Jeffrey Page. With Kùlú Mèlé’s stellar ensemble augmented with 12 community dancers, the show will feature a seamless blend of traditional West African dance combined with Page’s cutting-edge contemporary style. Bring the entire family out for a soul-stirring experience!

Saturday, November 30 | 7 pm
Sunday, December 1 | 4 pm
Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
General Admission: $20 in advance/ $25 day of show
Children 12 and under: $12 in advance/$15 day of show
*Bride Members Receive 20%



Brian Sanders’ JUNK – Snowball
Helmed by MOMIX alumnus and “the city’s most exciting choreographer” (Philadelphia Weekly) Brian Sanders, experimental dance-theatre company JUNK takes the Annenberg Center stage spinning a wintery tale complete with holiday “suites” sure to have every member of the family grinning and full of cheer. “Accessible, technically flawless, and thrilling comic dance” (Dance Magazine), Sanders’ style of inventive, off-the-wall choreography with found objects and discarded debris gives way to the troupe’s name, JUNK. Expect the unexpected in this exhilarating holiday feast of creativity and strength.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, December 6, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2013 @ 2 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 8, 2013 @ 2 PM
Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, December 13, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 14, 2013 @ 2 PM
Saturday, December 14, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 15, 2013 @ 2 PM
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tickets: $20 – $40



Lady Hoofers Holiday Concert
Join The Lady Hoofers, Philadelphia’s only all-female tap company, for an evening of tap dance, live jazz and holiday cheer.  The 60-minute, family-friendly concert will feature music from beloved holiday classics including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Choreographers Katie Delhagen, Theresa DiSipio, Becky Mastin and Kat Richter have all created new works for the concert, which showcases the ensemble’s signature elegance and fast paced rhythm tap.  Audiences will also get to see the ensemble’s new Youth Company in action.

December 6, 2013 at 7:00PM
December7, 2013 at 2:00 & 7:00PM
Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tickets: $18



Philly Nutt Crak-Up
Artistic Director, Gail Vartanian and her infamous Rappin SugarPlum Fairy are back with the 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 “nutty” holiday take-off of the classic Nutcracker is based on an original rap song written by the SugarPlum Fairy herself. This theatrical extravaganza is a story filled with superheroes, kung-fu fighting, Penn’s Angels and our very own South Street Rocky-Ettes at the Kingdom of Prussia. “Philly Nutt Crak-Up” is filled with references to local Philadelphia places, personalities, foods and skylines, combining comedy, hip-hop, jazz, modern and ballet dance creating a memorable event for all audiences .The “Philly Nutt Crak-Up” has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Dance Magazine, the City Paper, a feature segment on 6 ABC’s Prime Time Weekly show   and  NBC’s 10  show.  New acts! New faces! Appropriate for all ages! Even your DAD! You don’t want to miss this one!!

Fri, December 6 @ 7:30pm
Sat, December 7 @ 2pm and 7:30pm
Sun, December 8 @ 3pm
*Sunday you can meet the nutty cast and get their autographs after the 3pm matinee
Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Adults & children: $35 assigned seating
College students (with ID): $25


A Charlie Brown Christmas
Ballet 180 will be staging a brand new ballet just in time for the holidays. The performance, A Charlie Brown Christmas, provides a fun alternative to the Nutcracker that audiences of all ages will enjoy. Performances will be held as part of West Chester’s Annual Old Fashioned, which is sponsored by the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce and by MARS Drinks.  The production is aptly titled after the musical score from the classic 1965 film, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which boasts a wonderful assortment of holiday music by jazz musician and songwriter Vince Guaraldi. Honoring the contemporary style of Ballet 180, the ballet production takes on a fluid, jazzy style that brings to life the upbeat, jazzy tempos from the original score. Audiences can expect a crowd-pleasing performance of technically challenging dances, entertaining moments of comedy, and even singing. This family friendly production will be sure to leave you in the spirit for the holiday season. Do not miss out on this opportunity to engage with your local community through the performing arts!

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 4pm & 7pm
J.R. Fugett Middle School, 500 Ellis Lane, West Chester, PA 19380
$30 for adults and $20 for students and seniors.



Footwerx Holiday Tap Dance Showcase
Kick off your Holiday Season with the Tri State area’s most talented tappers  – A show for the entire family  – a performance that will tap into your heart and soul!

Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 4:00pm
Arts Bank at the University of the Arts, 601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Tickets: $20



Dance Del Bello presents A Christmas Carol – the Ballet by David Kloss
Journey through time on one magical night as three mysterious visitors help Ebenezer Scrooge discover the true meaning of Christmas. Dance Del Bello presents David Kloss’ captivating interpretation of the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol”. Mr. Kloss’ choreography of Charles Dickens’ classic tale has won critical acclaim, including special recognition from Cedric Dickens, great-grandson of Charles Dickens. A reception follows the performance.

Saturday December 14, 2013 at 7pm
Gateway Auditorium, Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA  18940
General Admission $25; Students & Seniors $15; Children 8 and under $10



CoEXISTdance at LOVE Park in Philadelphia’s Christmas Village
For a second year in a row, CoEXISTdance is thrilled to continue such a beautiful christmas tradition. Not only will we be debuting new work at LOVE Park in Philadelphia’s Christmas Village, we will be debuting our brand new Jr. Dance Company! Do not miss this!

Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:15pm
LOVE Park, 1599 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19102



22nd Season of Carols in Color
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.

December 21, 2013 at 3pm & 7pm
December 22, 2013 at 3pm & 7pm
The Kurtz Center, Wm. Penn Charter Schol, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144
$30 | $27 seniors/students/children

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