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Find out where to see 'The Nutcracker' this year

Posted November 22, 2021 6:00 a.m. EST
Updated November 22, 2021 7:51 a.m. EST

WFYB dancers perform The Nutcracker.(Courtesy WFYB)

— I spent many fall seasons of my youth in rehearsals preparing for my dance studio’s holiday performances of The Nutcracker scheduled for December. I still get nostalgic for my time as a dancer around the holidays, hum Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers” and remember bits of choreography. I stop myself before putting on my pointe shoes again. I’m a mom. I can’t spend the holidays injured.

I can take my kids to see The Nutcracker and experience that holiday magic. I’m so excited to see dance groups from small, local companies, to the amazing professionals at Carolina Ballet take the stage this year. Curtains were closed in 2020, or ballet companies could only offer streaming performances. One group returning this year with both talented young dancers and professionals is the Wake Forest Youth Ballet.

Where and When

The Nutcracker Suite: Wake Forest Youth Ballet featuring guests from the Carolina Ballet

Saturday, Dec. 11 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 3 p.m.

Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Rd., Wake Forest, NC 27587

Wake Forest Youth Ballet Nutcracker

A Unique Nutcracker Experience

Owner and Director of Destiny Dance Institute, and founder of the non-profit Wake Forest Youth Ballet, Patty Ogden, explains how her dancers tell The Nutcracker story with both classic ballet and fun, contemporary dance.

“Our Nutcracker is titled the Nutcracker Suite. It is a shorter version of the whole story, including the first act party scene, the battle scene of the Mouse King and Nutcracker Prince and of course the journey to the kingdom of sweets in Clara's dream,” Ogden says. She says the highlight of the performances for her students is working with the professional ballet dancers from Carolina Ballet. Joining WFYB is Carolina Ballet principal dancer Alyssa Pilger, dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy with Carolina Ballet’s Nick Fokine as her Cavelier. Retired Carolina Ballet dancer Manuel Barriga returns to play Drosselmeyer. This is extra special for Ogden’s students. She explains, “Manuel used to teach these dancers before retiring and enjoys working with them each year!”

After intermission is when Ogden says the pace picks up and her students change costumes, “Those same dancers delight the audience with a variety of holiday hip-hop, contemporary and tap dances in the second half of our show!”

WFYB Nutcracker

The Return

The stage remained dark for Ogden and her dancers last December, but students could still perform on camera for friends and family, “We turned our largest dance room into a theater with curtains and theater lighting and had the students perform dances from the Nutcracker. They wore masks and we had the show professionally recorded for their families. It wasn't in person but when they saw the studio and lights they were so excited and expressed that it made them feel like they were on stage again!” She says Destiny Dance Institute and WFYB had a streaming performance in the spring and an outdoor performance in June for safety. Ogden says those were fun, but this December is special, “Even with those opportunities, their excitement over going back in the theater can't be compared.”

Get your tickets and reserved seating to any of the WFYB’s three performances and the streaming link here.

Wake Forest Youth Ballet

Other Nutcracker Performances Around the Triangle

DanceArt Studio’s “Nutcracker With a Twist:” Dec. 4 at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh

Fuquay-Varina Arts Center: Dec. 10-11 at Fuquay Varina Arts Center

“The Nutcracker” presented by City Ballet Raleigh: Dec. 10-11 at NCSU’s Stewart Theatre. Live stream offered on Dec. 11.

Cary Ballet: Dec. 17-19 at Cary Arts Center

Carolina Ballet: Dec. 17-24 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

Hip Hop Nutcracker: Dec. 26, Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)


Amy Davis is a monogramming mom of three and fitness instructor with FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh and web contributor for the historic Village District. She is a regular Go Ask Mom contributor.