Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet, which premiered in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, has been a holiday tradition in the United States since the New York City Ballet's performance of it in 1954.
Based on the book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King , by E.T.A. Hoffmann, this ballet takes people into the dream world of Clara, a 7-year-old girl whose nutcracker doll comes to life on Christmas Eve. After transforming into a handsome prince, the Nutcracker defeats the evil Mouse King and then takes Clara on a magical journey into the enchanting Land of Sweets.
Companies such as the Moscow Ballet, which has performed The Nutcracker on tour for the past 15 years, continue to make the work a holiday experience all ages can appreciate.
"The Nutcracker is a warm, enchanting family tradition that has simplicity and elegance and is classical in its presentation, maintaining an integrity in the production that is timeless," said Mary Talmi, co-producer of the Moscow Ballet. "This is the type of production that grows as your children grow. Children can appreciate the story as little ones and then further appreciate the quality of the dancing and costumes as they get older. The depth of this ballet's qualities are unveiled and stay with you as you get older."
This season, many area ballet companies are getting into the holiday spirit with performances of The Nutcracker - or their own takes on the classic story.
Nov. 23-Dec. 30 -- The Puppet Co. Playhouse: The Nutcracker, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. $8. 301-320-6668.
Nov. 24 -- The Nutcracker Suite, Jordan Kitt's Music, 1313 York Road, Lutherville. $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger. 410-296-7577.
Nov. 24-Jan. 6 -- Alexandria Ballet: The Nutcracker, second floor of Landmark Mall, 5801 Duke St., Alexandria. $20. 703-379-8997 or thealexandriaballet.com.
Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 7-9 -- Baltimore School for the Arts: The Nutcracker Ballet, 712 Cathedral St. $6-$12. 410-230-7940 or bsfa.org.
Dec. 1-2, 8-9 -- Maryland Ballet Theatre and Arts Company: The Nutcracker, Northeast High School, 1121 Duvall Highway, Pasadena. $7-$10. 410-428-8099 or marylandballet theatre.org.
Dec. 2 -- Kinetic Dance Theatre: A Cracked Nut, Kinetics Dance Theatre, 3280 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City. $10 (adults free with paying child). 410-480-1686.
Dec. 6-23 -- The Washington Ballet: The Nutcracker, Warner Theatre, 13th Street (between E and F streets) Northwest, Washington. $30-$85. 202-362-3606 or washingtonballet. org.
Dec. 7 -- The Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland: The Nutcracker Holiday Benefit Gala for Howard County Autism Society, the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. $50. 410-997-8443 or balletroyale.com.
Dec. 7-9 -- Ashley Canterna and Mary Moran: The Nutcracker, Chesapeake High School, 4798 Mountain Road, Pasadena. $12-$15. 410-859-8511.
Dec. 8 -- Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Act II of The Nutcracker Ballet, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $12-$20. 410-783-8000 or bsomusic.org.
Dec. 8-9 -- Baltimore Ballet: The Nutcracker, Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson. $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger. 410-667-7974 or goucher.edu.
Dec. 8, 9, 16 -- Ballet Theatre of Maryland: The Nutcracker, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $43 for adults, $36 for seniors 65 and older, $23 for students and $18 for children 10 and younger. 410-280-5640 or balletmaryland.org.
Dec. 15-16 -- Howard County Ballet: The Nutcracker, Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. 410-997-1317.
Dec. 15-16 -- Westminster Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker, McDaniel College Alumni Hall, 2 College Hill, Westminster. $25 for adults and $12 for children in advance; $27 at the door. 410-848-6048 or wbtdance.org.
Dec. 15-16 -- Baltimore DanceTech: The City Nutcracker, James Weldon Johnson Theater, Coppin State University, 2500 W. North Ave. $10. 410-233-1101 or baltimoredance tech.com.
Dec, 15-16 -- Harford Ballet Company: The Nutcracker, John Carroll School Auditorium, 703 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air. $15-$16. 410- 877-3281 or harfordballetcompany. org.
Dec. 15-16 -- Chesapeake Ballet Company: The Nutcracker, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park. $15 for adults, $12 for members and $8 for children 12 and younger. 410-636-6597 or dance21146.com.
Dec. 15-16 -- The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts: The Nutcracker, the Community College of Baltimore County's Essex Theatre, 7201 Rossville Blvd. $25 for adults, $22 for children and seniors. 410- 679-2787 or danceatmcpa.com.
Dec. 15-16 -- Carroll County Dance Center and Ballet Conservatory: The Nutcracker, Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynbrook Ave., Owings Mills. $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and children 12 and younger. 410-795-3255 or carrollcounty dancecenter.com.
Dec. 18-23 -- American Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F. St. N.W., Washington. $47-$145. 202-467-4600 or kennedy-center.org.
Dec. 19-22 -- Moscow Ballet: The Nutcracker, Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. $35-$65. 410- 685-5086 or lyricoperahouse.com.