After taking a year off from live performances last year, when Salt Lake County arts venues were closed due to the pandemic, Ballet West is resuming its traditional holiday production of “The Nutcracker.”
The first performances will be Friday, Nov. 26, in Ogden at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 27, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Val A. Browning Center at Weber State University, 3750 Harrison Blvd.
“The Nutcracker” will then run for 23 matinee and evening performances, from Dec. 4 through Dec. 26, at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City. Most evening performances begin at 7 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m., and there will be a special holiday matinee on Christmas Eve at noon.
At a recent rehearsal, dancers, ballet students and children wore masks as they practiced the movements of the ballet, choreographed by Ballet West founder Willam Christensen.
Hundreds of kids from around the Intermountain West audition for roles, and being selected and performing in the annual production “has become a tradition for generations of families,” said Adam Sklute, Ballet West artistic director.
Ticket prices range from $25 to $125 and are available at BalletWest.org or by calling 801-869-6900.
More than 13,000 tickets have been sold, which means Ballet West is on track to see its highest level of sales in 25 years, Sklute said in a news release. “We encourage all ‘Nutcracker’ fans to purchase tickets early so they have a seat and don’t miss out.”
Based on the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the $3 million production is set to Tchaikovsky’s score and presented in two acts. The 1944 presentation of Christensen’s version is considered America’s first full-length production, and is potentially the longest-running “Nutcracker” in the world, according to Ballet West.
It tells the story of young Clara, who receives a nutcracker as a gift from her uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer, at a Christmas party.
“After the party, she falls asleep and dreams that her nutcracker has turned into a handsome prince,” Sklute said in the release. “Together, they travel to The Land of The Sweets, where they are entertained by dances from around the world,” to the score performed by the Ballet West Orchestra.
Sponsors of the Ballet West 2021-22 season are The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Program, which distributes tax revenues to arts and recreation programs. The George S. and Dolores Doré The Eccles Foundation and Intermountain Healthcare, the official medical provider for Ballet West, are production sponsors of “The Nutcracker.”