Atlanta’s ballet companies offer joyful fantasy world of ‘The Nutcracker’

The land of snow in "The Nutcracker" is one of the ballet's classic scenes, performed here in the Roswell Dance Theatre and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance’s production. (Photo by Jon Bauer Photography)

Credit: Jon Bauer Photography

Credit: Jon Bauer Photography

The land of snow in "The Nutcracker" is one of the ballet's classic scenes, performed here in the Roswell Dance Theatre and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance’s production. (Photo by Jon Bauer Photography)

Audiences of all ages enjoy the tradition of watching “The Nutcracker” to ring in the holiday season. Atlanta will host several performances of the ballet this year, including special anniversary shows and immersive experiences from the Northeast to the Southside.

Following is a list of performances of “The Nutcracker” — and one non-”Nutcracker” show — arranged alphabetically by neighborhood.


Metropolitan Ballet Theatre: Dec. 8-10 at Innovations Academy.

Led by former ballerina Maniya Barredo, Metropolitan Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This year, the company will present its 22nd annual performance of “The Nutcracker” and its first at the Innovations Academy Theatre, part of a new collaboration. It offers a special children’s Sugarplum Storytime event before each matinee performance, where audiences can meet the dancers, hear the story of “The Nutcracker” and enjoy treats from the Land of Sweets. $30-$40. Innovations Academy Theatre, 125 Milton Ave., Alpharetta.


The Hip Hop Nutcracker”: Dec. 3 at The Fox Theatre.

Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, this contemporary, touring dance production celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” features a dozen hip-hop dancers, a DJ, a violinist and hip-hop emcee Kurtis Blow.

“As we all continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, it is particularly meaningful to bring ‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ to Atlanta — a city whose impact and influence on hip-hop culture is undeniable,” Blow said. $40-$90. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta.

Soloists in Ballethnic's  “Urban Nutcracker” perform the pas de deux in the snow scene. Courtesy of Ballethnic

Credit: Courtesy of Ballethnic

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Credit: Courtesy of Ballethnic

Ballethnic Dance Company: Dec. 8-10 at Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College.

With a cast of more than 80 classically trained performers, Ballethnic’s “Urban Nutcracker,” an original production about the journey down Atlanta’s own Sweet Auburn Avenue in the 1940s, celebrates its 30th season this year. Led by Brown Sugar and Chocolatier, this production features the Reggae Ragdolls spinning , the sultry Arabians dancing, the Black Russians leaping, Mother Spice’s Spice Drops tumbling, the bubbly Coca-Cola pas de six and more. “‘Urban Nutcracker’ has a homey, humble feel to it, but it’s also a professional production that people pay to see every year,” former company member Laila Howard told ArtsATL in 2022. “It’s a beautiful representation of what Ballethnic gives to the world.” $40-$80. Morehouse College MLK Jr. International Chapel, 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta. 404-762-1416,

Cumberland Galleria/Cobb County

Atlanta Ballet: Dec. 8-26 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Since 2019, Atlanta Ballet has been presenting its larger-than-life production of “The Nutcracker,” choreographed by Yuri Possokhov. The production features detailed costumes, state-of-the-art technology and “something to watch at all moments,” says Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education faculty member Serena Chu. The Tchaikovsky score will be played live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. In her review of the 2021 presentation, ArtsATL dance critic Cynthia Bond Perry wrote that the production is “remarkable. . . so layered with imagery and so packed with visual details, it’s impossible to take it all in at once: Audiences can return year after year and make new discoveries leading to different interpretations.” $30-$158. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta.

Druid Hills/Virginia Highlands

Callanwolde School of Dance’s All Aboard: Dec. 9-10 at Callanwolde Mansion

An all-in-one holiday outing for the family, Callanwolde School of Dance’s All Aboard features characters traveling to the North Pole in search of the season’s meaning. Originated and directed by Jerylann Warner, All Aboard includes dances choreographed by Director Jessi Scopp McGrath and ballet faculty member Rebecca Rose Kendall, along with vocal arrangements from resident musical theater maestro Celia Reed. Audiences are invited to explore the mansion, where they can play old-fashioned board games, roast s’mores, take pictures with Santa and more. Originally a private home for members of the Candler family, the mansion was designed by Henry Hornbostel, who also designed Emory University. $15-$30. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta.


Gwinnett Ballet Theatre: Dec. 3-10, Dec. 14-17 at Gas South Theater.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will host its 41st annual production of “The Nutcracker,” which the company claims is the largest and longest-running holiday ballet in Gwinnett County. Featuring more than 90 dancers, the production has two casts with professionals from Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and students from Sugarloaf Youth Ballet. Audience members will take their seats to the tune of trumpets as the performance includes a live orchestra under the direction of conductor Predrag “Pedja” Gosta. $20-$55. Gas South Theater, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626- 2464,


The Georgia Ballet: Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at Jennie T. Anderson Theatre.

When ArtsATL interviewed Joy Johnson, Georgia Ballet’s executive director, in 2018, she said Artistic Director Daet Rodriguez “has brought his own flair” to “The Nutcracker.” “He’s created an even more challenging technical composition to give the audience ‘wow’ moments . . . he has brought our company to an even higher level of execution.” The company is known for its sensory-friendly shows; at those performances and on Thursday evening, there will be no live music. The remaining shows will be accompanied by a live orchestra. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta. 770-528-0881,

Terminus Ballet School’s “The Nutcracker Suite”: Dec. 8-10 at Kennesaw State University Dance Theater.

Toys and candies come to life on stage as the Terminus Student Company dancers perform the holiday tale. “This is an abridged and narrated version to help introduce our community’s youngest art patrons to the world of dance,” said Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre co-founder and choreographer Rachel Van Buskirk, who teaches at the school. $18-$40. KSU Dance Theatre, 1100 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta.

Sandy Springs

Roswell Dance Theatre and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance: Dec. 1-3 at Byers Theatre.

With cast members of all ages, extravagant costumes and detailed sets, Roswell Dance Theatre and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance will host 10 performances to celebrate the production’s 35th anniversary. The company changes its costumes, choreography and props in “The Nutcracker” each year to keep the performance fresh, says the company’s Kathi Jolley. Former Atlanta Ballet dancer Jonah Hooper is the guest artist. This year, the company will host three special event shows where audience members can meet and greet the fully-costumed cast members. $27-$50. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs.

Serenbe/Chattahoochee Hills

Terminus’ “The Nutcracker Suite” at Serenbe: Dec. 16-17 at The Pavilion at Serenbe Inn.

This immersive performance of “The Nutcracker Suite” allows viewers the opportunity to be up-close to the dancers, said Terminus’ Rachel Van Buskirk.

“This year, we’ve introduced younger levels in the school, and they also have the opportunity to perform. Creating their new roles and involving them in scenes with older dancers is a fantastic way to mentor and encourage everyone to pursue their best,” Van Buskirk said. $25-$45. The Pavilion at Serenbe Inn, 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills.

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Credit: ArtsATL

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Credit: ArtsATL


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