Nashville’s Nutcracker – A Nashville Holiday Tradition for all Ages

Nashville’s Nutcracker by the Nashville Ballet Company has become an annual holiday tradition for locals and tourists alike. The costumes, the music, the addition of 296 youth cast, and not to mention all the toys were presented to my delight during the media preview on December 2nd. The Grammy Award Winning Nashville Symphony added depth to the Nashville Ballet’s performance (literally) and young dancers added to the show this year, providing an exciting and humorous performance of Nashville’s take on my favorite holiday play.

Snow Scene. Photo by Heather Thorne


Paul Vasterling (Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO) has taken a traditional classical ballet and added a fresh and modern spin on it. “I added a few surprises for this anniversary year as a special way of saying thank you to the community for making us a part of their holiday tradition,” Vasterling said. “For the first time, it’ll snow on the audience during the iconic snow scene. Another big addition is the debut of a new youth cast role, the Dancing Bear Cavalry, which allows us to welcome even more young dancers on stage with us.” When I tell you, I will never forget Nashville’s Nutcracker and the memory of snow beginning to fall on us during the famous snow scene. I swear that I felt the chill in the air and shivered alongside the cast. Nashville’s Nutcracker piqued all the senses from the snow in the sky to the stage set offering multiple dimensions, including a third wall that opened as we were transported into the different scenes.

The Nutcracker is the story of Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer who gifts Clara with a wooden Nutcracker on Christmas Eve.  The toy magically transforms to life as a handsome prince and leads her on a remarkable adventure. Clara visits everyone from the Snow Queen to the Sugar Plum Fairy, all performing dances to the signature Nutcracker music — with exquisitely detailed costumes to match.

When Clara finally returns home, the audience is left to decide if it was all just a dream—or not.



Madame Bonbonniere and her Bon Bons My tiny guest thought they were cupcakes and said “cu cakes”


My guests were my best friend and her three-year-old daughter.  She was a little young and this was her first theater play, but I knew she would enjoy the dancing toys. She twirled and Pirouette’d in the small space between the seat and the row in front of us and squealed with delight at the dancing bears.  I’m so glad she had a great time.



Dancing Bear Cavalry Youth Cast Role. Photo by Heather Thorne


It was exciting to see the addition of nearly three hundred young dancers from the School of Nashville Ballet and I wondered, maybe my tiny guest could too participate in a future performance.    To see young people talented and interested in the arts really warmed my heart. The coordination of such young talent really speaks towards the exceptional level of dancers we can expect in the future – and from what I saw at the future of dance in Nashville doesn’t just look bright – it glows!



Sugar Plum Fairy and Sugar Plum’s Cavalier. Photo by Heather Thorne


Oh and for my urban crowd, please believe there was diversity in both the ballet casts’ and the youth casts so you won’t be disappointed!

The show is being held at the Tennessee Performing Arts Centre’s Jackson Hall, and is running until the 23rd of December – so if you haven’t bought tickets yet there is still time. For $35 dollars I was subjected to one of the most memorable productions I have had the pleasure to attend. I know you will enjoy it as well.  A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at



Karla (KB) Burnett is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Life. She loves coffee and donuts.  She is a Nashville Native and Lifestyle Blogger; a Free Spirit, and a Music Lover. Be sure to follow her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.
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KB The Nashville Social Butterfly

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