The Nutcracker and Other Favorites: Philadelphia DANCE’s annual holiday guide to gance in Philadelphia

 Republished by kind permission from Philadelphia DANCE and The Dance Journal.

With its unforgettable music, enchanting story and the vivid imagery, “The Nutcracker” has become synonymous with the holiday season. It is a classic tradition that has weathered the test of time, captivating audiences’ hearts and minds for generations. Philadelphia offers a whole host of Nutcracker productions – from dance school performances, to international touring companies, local companies and of course the highly acclaimed Pennsylvania Ballet.

But in addition to the myriad of Nutcracker offerings, Philadelphia’s dance community offers up a host of other productions that have also become holiday traditions. Such are Dance Del Bello’s Christmas Carol, Eleone Dance Theater’s Carol in Colors and Contempra Dance’s Philly-Nut-Crak-Up.

Below is our annual guide to this season’s best. Take a moment to unplug from the television, the internet and cell phones; gather up the kids and family, and start your own special tradition.



Pennsylvania Ballet

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™

Escape to the Land of Sweets for the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. For 46 years, families have created yuletide memories with Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of this classic tale. The simple story of a girl, a gift, and a fanciful dream is made magical by opulent sets and costumes, the charm of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet students, and the impassioned artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers. The celebrated Philadelphia Boys Choir raises their voices with the magnificent Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra to bring Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score to life.

December 11- 31

Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102



Talmi Entertainment – Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

Bring the whole family for the sweetest Christmas celebration of the season! Experience the exquisite artistry of world-class Russian dancers, playful puppets and the unmatched splendor of hand crafted sets and costumes. Moscow Ballet&#8#8217;s Great Russian Nutcracker is the holiday tradition that brings the Christmas spirit to life! New York Times raves, “Real beauty!” and Los Angeles Times, “Bravura expertise!”

December 4th at &:30pm

Tower Theater, S. 69th Street and Ludlow Street, Upper Darby, PA


Pages to Pirouettes

Come hear the abridged story of The Nutcracker and see it come to life through dance with beautiful costumes and music. An interactive program for audiences of ALL ages. A wonderful way to celebrate the season!

December 5th at 3pm – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 120 N. Easton Road, Glenside, PA
December 13th at 2pm – Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia


The Nutcracker Suite: A Christmas Extravaganza

Pottstown Dance Theater

Get in the Holiday spirit by enjoying the live music of world renowned musicians Jeff Nations and Randy Thompson. Experience colorful, contemporary choreography by international dance artist Michelle Jones Wurtz; and see the classics as set by Kirov Principal dancers Andrei Ustinov and Elena Martinson in the Holiday favorite “The Nutcracker Suite”.

Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 3:00pm

The Hill School Center for the Arts, 860 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA



The Nutcracker

Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company

Experience the wonder and joy of The Nutcracker performed by the Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company. The whole family will find something to love, from Act I’s lively party scene, the epic battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the regal Snow King and Queen, to Act II’s Land of the Sweets, where the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier have prepared a feast of sweets and treats for Clara. Featuring over 40 local dancers and actors, as well as guest artists in the roles of the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier. Come and enjoy this fun family holiday tradition!

December 12, 2015 at 2:00pm & 6:00pm

Phoenixville Area Middle School Theater, 1330 Main St, Phoenixville, PA

Tickets and information:!nutcracker/cb3i


The Nutcracker

Brandywine Ballet Company

A holiday tradition for the entire family, The Nutcracker ballet will transport you to the magical “Land of Sweets.” Join Clara and her beloved nutcracker on an enchanted journey to a place where toy soldiers and mice battle and the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns in splendor among a delightful cast of dancers and characters!

Fri, Dec 11th, 2015 at 10:00 am
Sat, Dec 12th, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Sat, Dec 12th, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Sun, Dec 13th, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Thu, Dec 17th, 2015 at 10:00 am
Sat, Dec 19th, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Sat, Dec 19th, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Sun, Dec 20th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Emilie K. Asplundh Hall, West Chester University, University Ave & High St, West Chester

Tickets & Information:


The Nutcracker with the Donetsk Ballet

International Ballet Exchange

Eighteen professional dancers from the Donetsk Ballet Company will grace the stage with 45 area students who will dance the children’s parts in the holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker.” Led by former superstar, Vadim Pisarev, Artistic Director, the company dazzles audiences throughout the world with their impeccable technique and artistry. There are only two shows. The troupe will be returning to the Philadelphia area despite a raging war in their city and country.

December 19 at 6:30pm
December 20 at 2:00pm

Plymouth/Whitemarsh High School, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA

Tickets & Information:


The Nutcracker performed by the Bolsohi Ballet (film)

Bryn Mawr Film Institute

On Christmas Eve, Marie is given a wooden nutcracker as a gift. When the clock strikes midnight, the Nutcracker transforms into a prince and saves Marie from the Mouse King and his army. This beloved holiday classic will enchant the whole family with its fairytale setting and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. The Bolshoi’s version of The Nutcracker has a unique and beautiful sense of romance and philosophy, danced by the heroic Denis Rodkin as the courageous Prince and the magical Anna Nikulina as Marie. Choreography by Yuri Grigorovich – Music by Piotr Tchaikovsky – Libretto by Yuri Grigorovich – Performed by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow – Starring Anna Nikulina and Denis Rodkin – 2 hr, 10 min

December 20th at 1:00pm

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA

Tickets and information:


The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s 6th Annual Nutcracker

The Philadelphia Dance Academy, now in its 11th Anniversary Season, and The Philadelphia Youth Ballet celebrate their 6th annual production of the Nutcracker: the popular ballet that has become a holiday classic throughout the world. Our production of the Nutcracker features performances by Dance Academy students, Youth Ballet members, and professional guest artists.

December 19th at 1:00pm and 4:00pm
December 20th at 12:00pm and 3:00pm

Mandell Theater, 33rd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:


The Nutcracker

Dance Elite

Dance Elite of Horsham presents the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. This show, featuring the well-known music of Tchaikovsky, will certainly delight all ages with its wonderful dancing and costumes.

December 20th at 2:00pm and 5:30pm

Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School Performing Arts Center, 1345 Sumneytown Pike, Ambler, PA

Tickets and information at


2015 Norristown Nutcracker

Enjoy our twist on this wonderful holiday tradition and join us to experience the classic tale of Clara’s magical journey. The Norristown Nutcracker features a synthesis of multiple dance styles, live music, acting, hand-made costumes, and original artwork and scenery. Featuring the work of ACPPA’s student talents, the story is personified with live dance–ballet, jazz, hip hop; and live music–piano, guitar; all performed by students and teaching artists of the Art Center. Highlights of the show include the Nutcracker doll’s transformation into the handsome Prince, Mother Ginger’s sprightly Polichinelles, high-energy Russian Trepak Dancers, Drosselmeyer’s toys becoming animated and full of life, as well as many new exciting additions!

December 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM
December 19, 2015 at 4:00 PM

East Norriton Middle School, 330 Roland Drive, Norristown,PA

Tickets and information:


The Nutcracker

Delaware Valley Dance Academy

Join us for this favorite holiday treat set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score and performed by over 100 of the area’s fines dancers. After dancing the night away at her family’s holiday party, Clara embarks on a thrilling adventure that takes her into battle with giant mice, through an enchanted forest and into the magical Land of Sweets. DVDA’s Nutcracker is a festive and magical way to ring in the holiday season and to introduce children to the power and beauty of ballet. Children from 3 to 93 will be mesmerized by the costumes, beautiful music and exceptional dancing in this lavish production.

December 4th at 7:30pm
December 5th at 1:30pm

Calvary Church, Rte 113, Souderton, PA

Tickets and information:




A Christmas Carol

Dance Del Bello

Dance Del Bello presents David Kloss’ captivating interpretation of the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol”. The Charles Dickens tale comes to life through dance in this beautiful, high-spirited ballet. Journey through time on one magical night as three mysterious visitors help Ebenezer Scrooge discover the true meaning of Christmas.

December 6, 2015 at 3:00pm

Zlock Performing Arts Center, Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road Newtown, PA

Tickets on DANCE BOX OFFICE at



Contempra Dance Theatre

ContempraDANCE Theatre’s “Philly Nutt Crak-Up” is back at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia! Artistic Director, Gail Vartanian and her infamous Rappin SugarPlum Fairy return with the battling Hip Hoppin Rats, City Hall Dolls, Captain Philadelphia and Liberty Belle-Anne, for another season of the hilarious holiday dance spoof, “Philly Nutt Crak-Up”. This “nutty” holiday take-off of the classic Nutcracker is based on an original rap song written by the SugarPlum Fairy herself. This theatrical extravaganza is a story filled with superheroes, kung-fu fighting, Penn’s Angels and our very own South Street Rocky-Ettes at the Kingdom of Prussia. You don’t want to miss this year’s “surprise” new City Hall Dolls as well as new acts to entertain you even more!! “Philly Nutt Crak-Up” is filled with references to local Philadelphia places, personalities, foods and skylines, combining comedy, hip-hop, jazz, modern and ballet dance creating a memorable event for our audience. “ Philly Nutt Crak-Up” has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Dance Magazine, the City Paper, a feature segment on Channel 6 ABC’s Prime Time Weekly show, NBC’s 10 show and Channel 17’s Eye Opener segment. New acts, new faces! Fun for all ages, even your DAD. You don’t want to miss this one!

Friday, December 11, 2015 at 7:30pm

Saturday December 12, 2015 at 2:00pm

Saturday December 12, 2015 at 7:30pm

Sunday December 13 at 2:00pm

Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street Philadelphia



The Lady Hoofers Holiday Concert 2015

The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble is pleased to present their third annual Holiday Concert at Performance Garage featuring our First Company Dancers, Youth Company Dancers, and guest artists Old City Sweethearts. The hour-long concert tap dance concert is family friendly and handicap accessible. This year’s show will include favorites such as “Most Wonderful Time” by Theresa DiSipio, and a preview of our jazz inspired Nutcracker with new choreography by Katie Budris, Becky Mastin, and Meg Sarachan. As part of their Nutcracker Suite, the youth ensemble will also perform acapella choreography by Sarah Cook Mason which premiered in The Nutcracker on Broadway in 1999.

December 4th at 7:00pm

December 5th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:


Xmas Philes


Xmas Philes created by highly acclaimed choreographer Danny Ezralow has been a holiday tradition in Philadelphia and one of PHILADANCO’S most requested works. It has been described as infectious, bold, colorful, disarming and fun and yet messages of trust, protection, resolve and rebirth emerge to capture the hearts and minds of the audience. Since its founding in 1970, PHILADANCO! has built a legacy by breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides. Across the nation and around the world, the company is celebrated for its innovation, creativity, and fierce preservation of African American dance traditions.

December 11th at 7:30pm

December 12th at 2:30pm and 7:30pm

December 13th at 2:30pm

The Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, 260 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:


A Night Before Christmas

Footwerx Tap Company

Footwerx Tap Company gets you in the holiday spirit with their journey through A Night Before Christmas. Come hear some of your favorite holiday songs as well as see some fantastic tap dancing!

December 6th at 4:00pm

The Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:!footwerx-holiday-show/c9m9


The Twelve Days of Christmas

Dance Fusion & Fusion 2

Families will delight in the Twelve Days of Christmas, based on the humorous and colorful holiday song of the same name, complete with “7 swans swimming, 10 lords leaping, 11 pipers piping,” and so much more, beginning of course, with the solitary “partridge in a pear tree.” Featuring the Dancefusion company and fusion2 training company along with students from the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center. It is sure to be great fun and entertainment for everyone, whatever your age!

December 12th at 2:00pm & 7:00pm

The New Freedom Theatre, 1346 North Broad Street, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:


24th Season of Carols In Color

Eleone Dance Theatre

“Carols in Color” retells the Gospel according to St. Matthew through Live Contemporary Music, Dance, and Powerful Narration. It is Joyous and Uplifting with a more Contemporary and Stimulation Structure and Rich in American Dance Theatre. “Carols in Colors” features some of Philadelphia’s most Renowned Vocalist, The Soul-Stirring Dance Movements of Eleone Dance Theatre, Eleone Connection and Eleone Dance Incorporated. “Carols in Color” was Conceived by E. leon Evans, II, Adapted and Restaged by Shawn-Lamere Williams and Executive Produce by Sheila A. Ward.

December 19th at 3:00pm and 7:00pm

December 20th at 3:00pm

The Kurtz Center for The Performing Arts, 3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia



A Charlie Brown Christmas

Ballet 180

Join Ballet 180 for our full-length holiday production set to Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This fun, jazzy ballet is sure to delight audiences of all ages with its upbeat music, familiar characters, and moments of comedic entertainment. Don’t miss this new twist on ballet that is sure to become a holiday tradition!

December 20th at 3:00pm

Rotwitt Theatre at Rosemont College, 1400 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA

Tickets & Information:


Slay Belles

Peek-A-Boo Revue

(18+ and over only)

No sugar but all the spice, the “slay belles” of the Peek-A-Boo Revue are back to rock your holiday with good tidings and naughty sightings. Leave the little elves at home and put some BUMP in your holiday grind! The ladies will peel their stockings while the band is a-rocking. The emcees will prepare us for the arrival of the MAGIC MAN himself, and we ain’t talking about Santa. Kick the carols to the curb and shred this holiday with the Peek-A-Boo Revue neo-burlesque show.

December 20th at 7:30pm

World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Tickets and information:

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