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47 Years of The Nutcracker: Ballet Midwest presents annual production

NutcrackerSymbolizing good luck and its ability to frighten away malevolent spirits, the nutcracker has long symbolized another thing for many people… the Christmas season. Based loosely on E.T.A. Hoffman’s fantasy story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” the plot of the annual holiday ballet program depicts a girl whose new beloved Christmas gift of a wooden nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve to battle against the evil Mouse King.

Make the Nutcracker ballet a part of your holiday must-dos and watch this unique story transform on the stage during the 47th annual Ballet Midwest Nutcracker, December 8-10, 2023 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

At the start of the show, the stage is set as a Victorian Christmas party with boys and girls running around with holiday glee. The merry crew are led into mischief by Fritz, who makes it his mission to torture his older sister, Clara, and the special gift from her mysterious godfather: a Nutcracker.

Falling asleep that very evening, Clara dreams of her darling Nutcracker, her very own night, battling evil against the wicked Mouse King. Victorious, Clara and her Nutcracker (now a handsome prince) travel through snow-covered fields, to cascades of flowers and through the sugar plum-filled Kingdom of Sweets, where dancers take to the stage representing different countries (and their corresponding treats!) throughout the second part of the show.

Ballet Midwest Company and Junior Company dancers are primary players on stage, but the cast includes both adults and children from the local community. Ages 3 to ageless make up the full cast of almost 200 dancers.Nutcracker

Ballet Midwest’s Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday staple and will be performed live at TPAC, Friday, December 8th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 9th at 1:30 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 10th at 1:30 pm.

Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors 55 and older, and $16 for students 18 and younger. A family pack of two adult and two student tickets is $60. Tickets can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office, from cast members, and at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance.

For more information visit www.balletmidwest.net.


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Fun Facts:

  • All local talent! All the dancers involved are trained right here in Northeast Kansas. Many grow up performing in the Nutcracker every year with dreams of the day they perform the lead roles in the production.
  • It’s the longest running Nutcracker in Northeast Kansas.
  • Terrific lighting and theatrical effects to behold – smoking cannons, lighting flashes, growing sets, falling snow and more.
  • Costumes are stunning! The level of detail with Victorian lace and sequins makes the dancers shine on stage.
  • Christmas tree grows over 20 feet in front of your eyes.
  • Acting plays a major role in the production – Shannon Reilly (Topeka Civic Theatre’s Artistic Director) consistently creates magic on stage as Clara’s godfather. Each cast member similarly strives to bring out the best in their role, whether scary or stunning, magical or mysterious.
  • Incredible pas de deux (dance of two) to view: enjoy watching strong men lift ladies overhead, allowing them to gracefully hover in the air, spin with precision and glide through space.

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice

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