New batch of Nutcrackers fills stages across Montana

New & Notable

Dayna Van Dyke is Clara in Montana
Ballet’s Nutcracker.(Rab Cummings photo)

It’s that season again, when young Clara falls asleep, cradling her beloved Nutcracker doll, and awakens to a grand adventure, beginning with a battle between the Nutcracker Prince and the Mouse King, followed by magical excursions to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets.

Ballet dancers across Montana toe up to Tchaikovsky’s elegant score, beginning Thanksgiving weekend:


Northwest Ballet Company presents its 21st annual production of this perennial treat at 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 28-29 and 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts. The ever-popular Sugar Plum Fairy Parade follows matinee performances on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $20-$22 and $15 for children 12 and under; call 755-8100 or visit for details.


Thanksgiving tradition brings Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score to life with the Billings Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Ballet, and a stage of local dancers and singers, 7 p.m. Nov. 29 and 2 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Alberta Bair Theater. Tickets are $23-$48; call 256-6052 or visit


Dmitri Trubchanov and Sharon Wehner, principal dancers with Colorado Ballet, join Yellowstone Ballet Company in its 24th annual production of the holiday tradition, 4 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Emerson Center’s Crawford Theater. Tickets are $10-$35; call 223-4664 or visit

Montana Ballet Company brings the holiday confection to life at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at The Commons at Baxter and Love in Bozeman (585-9774 or visit and again at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky (995-2742 or; a Bozeman favorite for over 30 years, the expanded production features exciting choreography by co-artistic directors Amy Lynn Stoddart and Elizabeth DeFanti of Montana Ballet, with live music from members of the Bozeman Symphony and returning guest conductor Lee Mills. Call 582-8702 or visit for details.


Tristen Taylor of Townsend is
Premiere Dance Co.’s Clara.

The Dance Center offers a fast-paced, kid-friendly and uniquely-Bozeman take on the holiday classic with “Nutcracker in a Nutshell,” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19, noon and 5 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Emerson Center/ Tickets are $10 for kids (2-12) and $20 adults; call 920-1247 or visit


Cohesion Dance Company delivers its second annual rock rendition of the Christmas classic with “Nutcracker on the Rocks,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, 2 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Helena Civic Center. Created by Shira Greenberg, founder and artistic director of Keshet Dance Company in Albuquerque, NM, the production features local dancers and professional guest artists dancing to the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin, plus the rumbling arrival of a Harley-Davidson on stage. Tickets are $10-$25; call 447-8481 or order online at Visit for details.

Premiere Dance Company presents the holiday favorite at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Helena Civic Center; the 86-member cast ranges in age from 6-66. Tristen Taylor, a 17-year-old junior at Broadwater High School in Townsend who began dancing at age 4, portrays Clara; Sugar Plum Fairy Nina Murphy shares the stage with her brother, Cavalier Andrew Murphy; and Kieran Burkholder is the Nutcracker Prince. “Premiere Dance Company’s production of The Nutcracker is so much more than a performance,” says artistic director Charlene White. “The ultimate goal of each cast member is to share their love of dance with you. From the tiniest Little Mouse to the Sugar Plum Fairy, they have all contributed in significant ways to bringing the magic of The Nutcracker to the stage.” Tickets are $10-$25; call 442-6519 or visit


Garden City Ballet stages a sumptuous version of the holiday favorite at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the UM Montana Theatre in the PARTV Center. Tickets are $20-$25; call 888-666-8262 or visit

Beyond our borders

State Street Ballet joins 81 local dancers and the Spokane Symphony in the cherished family tale of Clara and her Nutcracker prince, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4-5, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox in Spokane. Dancers, who range in age from 6 to 18 and come from 13 different ballet studios, join the 20 vibrant, professional dancers and the 70-member orchestra. Tickets are $12.50-$75; call 509-624-1200 or visit

Eugene Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint, Idaho. Tickets are $10-$25; call 208-263-6139 or visit