The Nutcracker: A Holiday Tradition

What is there about The Nutcracker that makes it such an endearing classic? For one thing, it’s a party. Beautiful people in elegant attire gather around a magnificently decorated tree, along with little boys in knickers, girls with starched white dresses, and magic in the air as toy soldiers and flowers come to life. But that’s not all. The music is familiar, melodic and hummable by every child whose ever grown up with Baby Einstein. And of course every girl who has ever executed a plié dreams of being the sugar plum fairy.  I, alas, was not the sugar plum fairy in my third grade production of The Nutcracker. I was just a tulip in the Waltz of the Flowers. And so, it was many years ago that I  made my peace with being just a tulip, and not a sugar plum fairy. It was a life altering moment. At the age of 8, I had to find something to do with my life. My mother offered  three options. I could be a nurse, a teacher or a mother. Those roles were a pretty steep come-down from being a fairy. Thankfully, today’s girls have so many exciting options that not being the sugar plum fairy is not so much a disappointment as it is a lifesaver. Here in Westchester, girls can learn to be fashion designers at the Westchester Fashion Academy for Children, learn to be a novelist at the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center  or learn to be graphic designers at the Center for the Digital Arts at Westchester Community College.

However, most of us girls, moms, aunts and grandmas will still want to check out The Nutcracker. It is, after all, a December tradition. So here are some of the beautiful and affordable Nutcracker performances in Westchester that are well worth the time spent and don’t require a schlep into Manhattan…

The New York Theatre Ballet has created a unique hour-long production, which will be performed at Westchester Community College on Saturday, November 19, and at the Paramount Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 26.  Founded in 1978 by artistic director, Diana Byer, the New York City-based company is the most widely seen chamber ballet group in the United States.

The Purchase Dance Company performs one of the best loved productions of this classic tale at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, December 8-11.  For more information, go to

The Westchester Ballet Company presents their version December 17 and 18 at the Westchester County Center, with spectacular scenery and costumes, classic choreography and special stage effects. More details at

Also on December 17 and 18, Dance Theatre in Westchester will present The Nutcracker at Yorktown Stage. More info at

While TV and movies tend to hype the idea of being a princess or a sugar plum fairy, we all need to remember that there can only be “one.”  So, let’s just get over it.

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