Ballet Austin’s ‘Nutcracker’ will be virtual this year


A ballet company’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” is a bellwether of sorts for any performing arts community, an indicator of its economic viability. Ballet Austin regularly attracts 30,000 audiences members to dozens of performances each December at the Long Center for the Performing.

In the midst of global pandemic, “The Nutcracker” is an indicator of how performing arts organizations are finding ways to keep performing.

This December Ballet Austin will present “The Nutcracker” digitally with video-on-demand featurettes such as signature dances and scenes, cast interviews, studio rehearsals, production tricks of the trade, music tutorials, and behind-the-scenes extras.

Ticket information and other details is forthcoming at

Ballet companies across North America, where “The Nutcracker” tradition is most strong, have either been cancelling or digitally re-imaging the Christmas-time spectacle.

“Ballet dancing requires strenuous, aerobic activity and close contact among performers,” said company artistic director Stephen Mills. “The health and safety of our audience members, dancers, student performers, musicians, production crew, and front-of-house staff is of utmost importance to us and why we must find new ways to explore our Nutcracker tradition during a global pandemic that has significantly affected our city and state.”

Ballet Austin has weathered the economic disaster better than most arts organizations, thanks to careful fiscal management and relief aid from the CARES Act’s Payroll Protection Program. The company has not laid off any staff, and its dancers will remain on contract through the coming season.

Dancers begin rehearsal next week, practicing in pods of five at Ballet Austin’s downtown headquarters.

As a nonprofit arts organization, our most important mission is to perform and share the joy of dance with our community,” Mills said.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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