Sugar plums and magical dolls

Special to The Log
Dolls come to life and Clara travels to the Kingdom of the Sweets in The Nutcracker.

Treat yourself to visions of dancing sugar plums, graceful snow flurries, and magical dolls at the Northwest Florida Ballet’s 33rd annual presentation of The Nutcracker at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. 

This ballet has been a favorite for families all over the world since 1892 when Marius Petipa, the senior ballet master of the Russian Imperial Ballet, commissioned Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to compose a full-length ballet based on the E. T. A. Hoffman story. 

Although it was first performed to Tchaikovsky’s captivating score in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, the first American production of the ballet wasn’t introduced until 1944 when Willem Christensen staged it for the San Francisco Ballet.

Ten years later George Balanchine immortalized The Nutcracker with his famous production at the New York City Ballet which featured an immense Christmas tree magically rising from the stage during the first act. Since that time The Nutcracker has become the most widely attended ballet in America.

“Every year we see generations of families that come to share the experience with each other,” said Todd Allen, Northwest Florida Ballet’s artistic director/CEO and choreographer. “It’s a celebration of childhood fantasy and the power of human imagination and that is something everyone can relate to.”

The production has a cast of more than 100 dancers which includes many local children, NFB Company members and an impressive array of international guest artists.

Tickets are $28/adults and $14/children 12 and under and can be purchased beginning Oct. 18 at or 850-664-7787.