American Ballet Theatre dancing Alexei Ratmansky's version of the Snow scene. (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT)

Brace Yourselves: It's Nutcracker Time

The last Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten. The Black Friday deals have come and gone. The Christmas season is, in case you haven't noticed the red bows and greenery literally EVERYWHERE, in full swing. And you know what that means.

It's Nutcracker time, my friends.

We're in for a solid month of party scenes and divertissements, of costume changes and fake snow, of blisters and bruises. Some of us will try out juicy roles (Dew Drop! Snow Queen! SUGAR PLUM!) for the first time. Pretty much all of us will also dance parts we've done hundreds of times before (but hey, maybe we'll find something new in the Spanish variation this year).

We all love to hate on the Nut. It's easy to. There's no getting around the fact that Nutcracker season is a grind. It's hard to make Snow Scene #27 feel as fresh as Snow Scene #1. We do pretty horrible things to our poor, tired bodies over the course of the slog. There are always whiny, snotty-nosed kids making a ruckus in the audience.

But while we may cringe whenever we hear the Waltz of the Flowers at the mall, let's be honest: This is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. How amazing is it that we get to be onstage almost daily for a month? How awesome is it that tons and tons of shows mean tons and tons of casts, with all kinds of opportunities to tackle parts big and small? And how incredible is it that each Nutcracker performance will be somebody's first time at the ballet? It's a pretty safe bet that every night, there's at least one little girl out there falling head over heels for this thing we love so much.

So buckle up, everybody: It's gonna be a long, bumpy ride. But it'll be a pretty magical one, too. See you at the finish line on January 1st. I'll bring the cookie dough.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search