Santa Cruz City Ballet at International Academy of Dance

Nutcracker Performance Santa Cruz City Ballet ("Experience the Magic" Logo Head)

History of the Nutcracker (Wikipedia Version)

The Nutcracker, Russian Shchelkunchik, is a ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The last of his three ballets, it was first performed in December 1892. Every year, we recreate this timeless classic in Santa Cruz with our Nutcracker Performance.

The story of The Nutcracker is loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann fantasy story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. Hoffmann’s story is darker and more troubling than the version that reached the stage; the Imperial Russian Ballet choreographer Marius Petipa chose to follow a light adaptation of the story written by Alexandre Dumas père.

History of the Nutcracker in Santa Cruz

The Nutcracker was first performed in Santa Cruz in 1988 with Santa Cruz City Ballet Director, Shannon Chipman as the Snow Queen and Co-Director, Vicki Bergland as Co-Director on the old Cabrillo stage. They have since worked on many Nutcrackers together and this is their 15th year together with the Santa Cruz City Ballet @ IAD. This is their 12th year at the Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater.

Every year the production grows with new ideas, choreography, scenery, costumes and imagination. Dancers in the Company, professionals from the bay area and beyond, alongside dancers from our community each bring their own sparkle. Most dancers in the production train at International Academy of Dance, home of the Santa Cruz City Ballet. It is always rewarding to see the tiniest gingersnaps, angels and party guests now dancing principal roles as young adults and pre-professionals, along with young dancers dreaming about becoming the next Snow Queen.

We breathe new life into this timeless classic, so please join us this December to see the latest rendition of The Nutcracker!

Interested in supporting the Nutcracker?

It’s the holiday season, and gift-giving is in the air! Your donation helps our Nutcracker performance come to life. And because we support local Santa Cruz businesses, artists, and choreographers, your donation also helps the community at large. We even offer space in our programs, if you have an advertisement, you’d like to share. Alternatively, you can donate directly to our 501c(3) organization – The Santa Cruz Dance Guild. The Dance Guild offers scholarship and training opportunities to young dancers from CASA, Rebele Shelter and families in need that may not otherwise be able to afford dance training. We are excited to give back our knowledge and training to everyone who has the passion and drive to learn ballet. We believe that Ballet makes life more beautiful! Learn More about how you can support our Nutcracker.

In the performance?

If you’re in the show, head over to our Performers Page, where we have all the information you need!

Want to be in the performance?

Auditions for the Santa Cruz Nutcracker Performance happen each year at the end of August. And they are open to all members of the community, so you have no excuse not to try! The production has opportunities for dancers of all ages and abilities ages 4+. Train all year at the International Academy of Dance and get ready for auditions. Make sure to get on our mailing list so you don’t miss the audition announcement! Auditions are similar to a regular ballet class and do not require memorizing or preparing audition material ahead of time.