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The Nutcracker: A Miami Holiday Tradition Returns

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Miami City Ballet's production of

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is a mainstay to Miami's

holiday season. MCB first produced The Nutcracker on Nov. 23,

1990, at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Since then

the company has performed the Christmastime classic annually

throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties.

While the

story of a little girl and a wooden toy soldier is known for its

elaborate set design and exquisite costumes, another thing that sets

this show apart is the number of children on stage. As Pamela

Gardiner, executive vice president of Artistic Affairs for Miami City

Ballet affirms, in a live performance with over 60 children on stage,

you should expect the unexpected. Gardiner remembers stories of

nervous children vomiting on stage and dancers dressed as snowflakes

getting stuck in the set design's netting.

But most of the stories are heartwarming. "One of my most touching memories was a deaf child who played a bunny," says Gardiner. "This was many years go

in a performance in Clearwater. We had an orchestra and she felt the

music through the floor."

With six performances in four days, MCB principal dancer Jennifer Kronenberg says one of the challenges of The Nutcracker and its rigorous performance schedule is to keep each performance fresh and new: "One thing that has always helped

inspire me is the thought that somewhere in the audience of every

single performance there is a child, an adult, or a whole family who

has never, ever, seen The Nutcracker. For them, the magic of the

production will be entirely new and exciting.

"As dancers, we owe them the newest, freshest, most inspired performance that we can deliver."

On making The Nutcracker a South

Florida tradition, Gardiner adds, "I love it that we get to have a

Christmas tree and snow in Miami when the sun is shining on the palms

trees in the ocean outside."

Miami City Ballet's production of

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker will be on stage at the Adrienne

Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami,

Dec. 15 through 18. Tickets range from $20 to $68. Call 305-929-7010

or visit miamicityballet.org. Tickets can also be purchased through

the Arsht Center. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.

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