The Nutcracker: A Miami Holiday Tradition Returns

Categories: Dance
Nutcracker CREDIT Leigh-Ann Esty.jpg
Leigh-Ann Esty
Principal dancers Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg
Miami City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is a mainstay to Miami's holiday season. MCB first produced The Nutcracker on Nov. 23, 1990, at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Since then the company has performed the Christmastime classic annually throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties.

While the story of a little girl and a wooden toy soldier is known for its elaborate set design and exquisite costumes, another thing that sets this show apart is the number of children on stage. As Pamela Gardiner, executive vice president of Artistic Affairs for Miami City Ballet affirms, in a live performance with over 60 children on stage, you should expect the unexpected. Gardiner remembers stories of nervous children vomiting on stage and dancers dressed as snowflakes getting stuck in the set design's netting.

But most of the stories are heartwarming. "One of my most touching memories was a deaf child who played a bunny," says Gardiner. "This was many years go in a performance in Clearwater. We had an orchestra and she felt the music through the floor."

With six performances in four days, MCB principal dancer Jennifer Kronenberg says one of the challenges of The Nutcracker and its rigorous performance schedule is to keep each performance fresh and new: "One thing that has always helped inspire me is the thought that somewhere in the audience of every single performance there is a child, an adult, or a whole family who has never, ever, seen The Nutcracker. For them, the magic of the production will be entirely new and exciting.

"As dancers, we owe them the newest, freshest, most inspired performance that we can deliver."

On making The Nutcracker a South Florida tradition, Gardiner adds, "I love it that we get to have a Christmas tree and snow in Miami when the sun is shining on the palms trees in the ocean outside."

Miami City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker will be on stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Dec. 15 through 18. Tickets range from $20 to $68. Call 305-929-7010 or visit miamicityballet.org. Tickets can also be purchased through the Arsht Center. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.

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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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