- One ticket to see Ahwatukee Foothills Ballet’s The Nutcracker
- When: Friday, December 20, at 7 p.m., or Saturday, December 21, at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
- Where: Desert Vista Fine Arts Theater
- Door time: one hour before showtime
- $9 for the side balcony (up to a $15 value)
- $10 for the middle balcony (up to an $18 value)
- $12 for the side orchestra (up to a $20 value)
Based on a novel by 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure around one of the most recognizable scores in the ballet repertoire. It begins when young Clara receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, she suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King's head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate. Throughout their adventures, Tchaikovsky's dazzling inventiveness propels the dances of nimble flowers, regal fairy queens, and seasonally confused vampires. The "Waltz of the Snowflakes" floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, whereas the "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" tiptoes to the haunting, music-box chimes of a celesta. A medley of exotic national dances—including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak—add to the phantasmagoric celebration before the whole dream ends, as all dreams must.
Initially unpopular when it premiered in Russia, The Nutcracker languished for decades with a reputation as one of Tchaikovsky's lesser works. Then, in the 1950s, the ballet’s status as a fixture of the holiday season began to grow as suddenly as Clara’s magic Christmas tree when renowned American choreographer George Balanchine staged it for the New York Ballet. Balanchine's elegant staging remains the most popular, alternating between breathtaking displays of balletic mastery by soloists and duos and large-scale set pieces that fill the stage with luminous costumes.
Ahwatukee Foothills Ballet
A local tradition since 2000, the Ahwatukee Foothills Ballet presents its yearly holiday performance with a cast of 125 local dancers, their ages ranging from 3 to 21. The production employs more than 400 costumes and headpieces, each personally designed for the show. Equal in elaborateness to the dancing is the staging, which includes a Christmas tree that rises through the theater’s roof and falling snow.