Our Annual Holiday Guide 2021

This year the holiday season has special significance as dance companies around the city attempt to recover from the economic effects of the Covid pandemic. After almost two years of hibernation and virtual events, there is now a cautious return to live performances with most requiring proof of vaccination and masking for those in attendance. 

Despite it all, Philadelphia continues to abound with holiday traditions with The Nutcracker still very much at its center. While recently mired in controversy surrounding its stereotypical depictions of ethnic groups and race, The Nutcracker remains synonymous with the holiday season. With new more acceptable iterations being generated, it is a classic tradition that seems to continue to weather 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 Philadelphia 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 Project Moshen’s Annual benefit for Ovarian Cancer Research. ContempraDance Theatre’s Philly Nutt Crak-Up, Eleone Dance Theatre’s Carols in Color, and The Lady Hoofers’ Tapcracker. Not to be left out are the renowned dancers of Philadanco in their season production of Fast Forward… to The Future, perhaps a most fitting title as we all continue to recover going in to 2022.

Below is our annual guide to this season’s best (in order by date). Take a moment to unplug from the television, the internet and cell phones; set aside the political differences of the day, gather up the kids and family, and start your own special dance holiday tradition.

The Nutcracker
The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet
November 19 – 21
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, Upper Darby, PA
This beloved tradition is back, live in theater under the direction of Melinda Pendleton and Ballet Master, Bryan Koulman. The performance features Nayara Lopes, Rick Callendar, Tim Early, Austin Eyler, Grace Kimble, Erin O’Dea, Cory Ogdahl, and Nicholas Patterson.

A Philadelphia Nutcracker
Philadelphia Dance Theatre
November 27th at 1pm & 4pm
A. Palmer West Performing Arts Center, Media, PA
A Philadelphia Nutcracker is a holiday classic that will stir your heart and imagination. Come on a magical journey from a postcard perfect Christmas Eve, through the snowy evergreen forest to an enchanted Kingdom of Sweets reminiscent of times gone by. Set in the familiar neighborhood of Victorian Germantown, cobblestone streets, Fairmont Park, and a local mansion are all hallmarks of this beloved production.Featuring local dancers and artists with choreography by Artistic Director Joy Delaney-Capponi, backdrops designed by Christopher Fox, and costumes by Joan Fox and Gina Shifferly.

Nutcracker Sweets
Ballet 180
December 4th at 10:30am & 2:30pm
Bayard Rustin High School, West Chester, PA

Join us for a 1940’s era jazzy take on the Nutcracker that blends a variety of dance styles into a delightful performance as guests follow the Sugar Plum Fairy on her journey to the Land of the Sweets!

The Nutcracker
Pages to Pirouettes

December 4th at 3pm
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Glenside, PA

December 12 – 31
Recording of a past performance – filmed at the Parkway Central Library

An enchanting holiday tradition with a host of characters and dances, beautiful costumes and wonderful music. Come hear the abbreviated story and see the performance of The Nutcracker.

Winter Spectacular 2021
Labyrinth Dance Company
Virtual Performance
December 4th at 4pm & 7pm

This showcase is filled with dance performances by Labyrinth Dance Company and other dancers and musicians.

Project Moshen

benefitting the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation
Project Moshen
December 4th at 7pm
Christ Church Neighborhood House, Philadelphia

Join Project Moshen for their long-awaited return to the theater for their annual holiday event, EXCERPTS, benefitting the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation.This year, EXCERPTS will include various new pieces choreographed by Kelli Moshen over the past 2 years that will intrigue, excite and bring joy to our audience. The show will also feature some audience favorites not seen in years! Join us for our welcome reception when the doors open at 7 pm for holiday drinks, raffles, and a guest DJ. This event will be a perfect way to kick off the holiday season while supporting a great cause.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®
The Philadelphia Ballet
December 10 – 31
Academy of Music, Philadelphia

The wait is over:  Balanchine’s beloved holiday classic returns! Gather the family together this holiday season to share in the magic, the charm, the spectacle, and the joy of The Nutcracker* ballet. Set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score—full of cherished holiday tunes—this extraordinary ballet celebrates the season through a timeless story of youth, romance, magical battles, and boundless beauty. Follow young Marie on her fantastical adventures with parties and princes, Sugar Plum Fairies and snowflake waltzes, in a thrilling performance featuring stunning scenery, elaborate costuming, dazzling dancing, and a sensational score.  Whether this is your family’s first or fiftieth time with The Nutcracker, this remarkable production is sure to delight both the young and the young-at-heart.

“Fast Forward” …to the future
December 10 – 12
Perelman Theater at The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s favorite dance company, PHILADANCO!, returns to the Kimmel Cultural Campus in a not-to-be-missed premier weekend! Featuring world premiere works from Bakari Lindsay, Co-founder of Toronto-based dance company Collective of Black Artists, Vietnam’s Thang Dao, Broadway’s Ray Mercer, and emerging choreographer Kathy Smith. Recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers, and electrifying performances, these new works highlight Philadanco’s legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides.

Nutcracker 2021
Academy of International Ballet
December 11th at 12pm & 4pm
Kleinlife, Philadelphia
Ballet performance in two acts. Performed by the students of Academy of International Ballet and Professional Guest Dancers. Artistic Directors: Denis Gronostayskiy and Anastasia Babayeva

A Winter’s Dream
International Ballet Exchange
December 11 at 1pm & 7pm
Teatro Esperanza, Philadelphia

From an enchanted winter forest to the glowing Northern Lights, take a magical journey through a world of dance in A Winter’s Dream, a new ballet by Christina Castro-Tauser. International Ballet Exchange invites audiences of all ages to this world premiere.

12th Annual Nutcracker
The Philadelphia Dance Academy
December 11th & 12th
Mandell Theater, Drexel University, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Dance Academy, now in its 17th season, and its youth performance company, The Philadelphia Youth Ballet, celebrate their 12th annual production of the Nutcracker: the popular ballet that has become a holiday classic throughout the world. Our production of the Nutcracker features performances by Dance Academy students, Youth Ballet members, and professional guest artists.

Nutcracker 2021
International Ballet Classique
December 11th & 12th
Meagher Theatre at Neuman College, Aston, PA
A lavish original 30 Year Anniversary Production featuring professional Guest Artists and award-winning ballet students. This enchanting, 128-year-old Christmas ballet is famous for having enthralled audiences of all ages all over the world. In the upcoming 2021 Holiday Season IBC will bring to Delaware County a lavish original production showcasing an cast of talented professional Guest Artists as well as a group of award-winning local ballet students.

The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble
December 11th & 12th
Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Philadelphia
The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble is proud to present THE TAPCRACKER, a full-length, all-tap version of the classic holiday favorite. Set to the music of both Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington, THE TAPCRACKER transports audiences to Paris, where an infestation of rats has thrown the city into chaos. Toy soldiers guard the Eiffel Tower, mice wreak havoc in the Metro, and frazzled chefs prepare for a feast at the magical palace of Versailles, featuring characters from the beloved Land of the Sweets.

The Nutcracker
Pottstown Dance Theater
December 11th & 12th
Boyertown Area High School, Boyertown, PA

The Pottstown Dance Theatre once again brings back the family beloved classic The Nutcracker. This full production will tell the famous tale of Clara, her Nutcracker, and the Mouse King. She will travel to the Land of Sweets where she will be greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and dancers from many lands. This is a ballet the entire family will love!

The Nutcracker
Brandywine Ballet
December 17-19
Emilie K. Asplundh Hall, West Chester University, West Chester, PA

Join us this December for the Holiday Classic, The Nutcracker! Ring in the season with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, and join Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer as they battle the Mouse King, travel through a magical forest of dancing snowflakes, and finally enter the Land of Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy who rewards them with performances by a sweet cast of characters.

30th Performance Season of Carols in Color
Eleone Dance Theatre
December 18-19
Universal Audenried Charter School Theater, Philadelphia
Carols in Color is retelling of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Carols in Color features some of Philadelphia’s most renown vocalists whom Leon Evans worked with professionally. This dance musical also features the dance company founded by Leon Evans, Eleone Dance Theatre. Carols in Color is based on “Black Nativity” by Langston Hughes and a 1960’s musical adaptation by Vinette Carrol. Like “Black Nativity,” Carols in Color is joyous and uplifting with a more contemporary and stimulating structure, rich in American dance theatre.

Philly Nutt Crak-Up
ContempraDance Theatre Company
December 18-19
Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center, Philadelphia
Excerpts from the original Philly Nutt Crak-Up” Featuring our professional dancers and showcasing the ContempraYouth Company
Join our crew at Philly Nutt’s “Kingdom of Prussia” with Liberty Belle Anne and our Philly Cheesesteak Nerd.
You’ll see Jackson and Barbie girl. These life size dolls are gonna rock your world!!
Wacky rats and toys to see Kingdom of Prussia is the place to be!!

50th Anniversary of THE NUTCRACKER
The Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company
December 18 at 2pm & 7:30pm
Bryn Mawr College – Goodhart Hall, Bryn Mawr,PA
Come share in Clara’s magical dream on Christmas Eve as she joins The Nutcracker to duel the mighty Mouse King, then travels into the sparkling Kingdom of Snow and onto the enchanted Land of Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns over dazzling dancers from around the world. Ring in the Christmas season with the timeless classical music of Tchaikovsky as heard at the first Nutcracker of 1892 in Imperial Russia. With over 50 dancers, professional guest artists, lavish costumes, and beautiful scenery, this is a spectacular yet affordable family holiday experience that is guaranteed to ignite your spirits and warm your hearts!

Content Protection by
Follow Me
Latest posts by Steven Weisz (see all)

0 replies on “Our Annual Holiday Guide 2021”

Become A Member of PhiladelphiaDANCE

Membership is only $15 for a FULL YEAR of exclusive content and use of our portal, grant and funding information, free positing to our newsfeed – the new listserv , app for IOS and Android for on the go, discounts, priority support and more! Learn More

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Sent out each Sunday with all the latest dance news and updates for the Philadelphia region.

Related Posts