Perhaps the most anticipated performance of any ballet company this time of year is “The Nutcracker,” which surrounds the Christmas holidays as a tradition that has grown throughout decades of performances.
Numerous renditions are performed at local theaters, high schools and college theaters across the nation. As the reputation of the Texas Ballet Theater has grown, its confidence in carrying out the most remarkable versions of the show continues to grow.
“No other dance company in the Dallas Fort Worth area creates a holiday experience like Texas Ballet Theater,” said Margo McCann, TBT managing director.
The Nutcracker was first performed in 1800s. The performance follows a young girl’s dream on Christmas Eve and the magical events that take place as she sleeps. The Texas Ballet Theater version of the original The Nutcracker includes more than 40 professional dancers, a flying carpet, snowfalls and more.
The costumes are a large part of what makes the experience at the Texas Ballet Theater’s production spectacular, as many of the costumes are hand-sewn and take hundreds of hours to put together, McCann said.
Beginning in the early 1960s, the TBT was originally separately known as the Dallas Ballet and the Fort Worth Ballet. This continued until the late 1990s when the two decided to blend their talents together and form what has become known today as the Texas Ballet Theater. In 2003, acclaimed director, choreographer and teacher Ben Stevenson was added as the ballet’s new artistic director. Through Stevenson’s direction, the Texas Ballet Theater has become one of the most well-known professional ballet companies in the nation and is the second largest in the state.
In addition to the classic tale of “The Nutcracker,” the Texas Ballet Theater also showcases a different version known as “The Nutty Nutcracker.” This version is not at all like the traditional style of the original, McCann said.
“The Nutty Nutcracker is a unique experience that can’t be found any place else,” she said. “We lovingly refer to this one-night only performance as The Nutcracker’s PG-13 cousin for its look at major events that took place during the last 12 months”.
The event is a collaboration between artistic staff and dancers. Past shows have included a crossed Glinda the Good Witch, Abraham Lincoln, the Coke polar bears, President Obama and the famous last dance of Dirty Dancing.
According to McCann, “The Nutty Nutcracker” is less about tradition and more about fun. Audiences looking for something different from the traditional version go to “The Nutty Nutcracker” for a unique and fun twist on tradition. Many return to see “The Nutty Nutcracker” because they want to laugh and experience a fun take on a traditional tale, she said.
In addition to the original, new elements have been added to this year’s show, including a flying angel and magic carpet. These exciting new features were a result of new production added last year and the Texas Ballet Theater could not be more thrilled.
“We have enhanced last year’s triumphant new take on ‘The Nutcracker,’” McCann said. “Certain audiences will be awed by this year’s performances that can’t be seen any place else”.
The Texas Ballet Theater will be performing “The Nutcracker” at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas Nov. 29 through Dec. 8. It will also be showing at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth Dec. 13 through Dec. 27[no performances will be held on Christmas Day]. “The Nutty Nutcracker” performance will be held for one night only at 8 p.m. Dec. 20. For tickets and information, visit texasballettheater.org.