American Ballet Theatre THE NUTCRACKER

Back for the holidays, American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” is now performing at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County (December 14th through December 23rd)! We took the children to see it Opening Night and loved it! The story is about a little girl and her cherished nutcracker around Christmas time. The villains are mice who causes havoc to the toys and the children are afraid of them. In ballet there are no voices nor talking. To understand the story and to understand what is happening in the scene, you have to watch their facial expression, body language and listen to the tone of the music. The props play an important part too like for example, the children were throwing tantrums to open presents at the party. The creepy Drosselmeyer appears and brings the toys to life. You can tell that they are toys because they are dancing in front of the giant present boxes. We were mesmerized. Not only were the costumes colorful and the music superb, the performers danced beautifully and eloquently. I loved watching the Snowflakes and Sugar Plum Fairies Dance. They are in-sync and they light up the stage. The highlight is of course watching The Princess and The Prince perform. It was perfection. 

Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo in The Nutcracker. Phtoo: Doug Gifford.

“The Nutcracker” is a beloved holiday story based on “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, set to a magical score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, and is performed live by Pacific Symphony. Scenery and costumes are by award-winning designer Richard Hudson (Disney’s “The Lion King”) and lighting is by Jennifer Tipton. Students from the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts will perform alongside the renowned ABT dancers in this classic tale that takes the young, romantic Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on a dreamlike journey. Principal casting includes Hee Seo as Clara, the Princess and Cory Stearns as The Nutcracker Prince on opening night, December 14. Pacific Symphony will perform for all performances. Additional casts include Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, Sarah Lane, Isabella Boylston, Christine Shevchenko, Thomas Forster, Blaine Hoven and James Whiteside. For the most updated information, please visit their website. 


December 14 – 23, 2018

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA

(714) 556-2787

  • Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky
  • Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
  • Music performed live by Pacific Symphony


  • Wednesday – Friday at 7 pm
  • Saturday at 2 and 7 pm
  • Sunday at 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm

Tickets – Start at $29

International Dance Series

Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ 2018-19 International Dance Series also includes Mikhailovsky Ballet and Orchestra Don Quixote (Center Production Premiere – November 9-11, 2018), American Ballet Theatre Harlequinade (West Coast Premiere – January 17-20, 2019), Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg Pygmalion (American Premiere – May 24-26, 2019), Mark Morris Dance Group Pepperland (Center Premiere – June 14 & 15, 2019).

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in Harlequinade. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts has a special Kids Night at the Ballet offer for the West Coast Premiere of American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Harlequinade on Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m. With the purchase of one full-price ticket, parents can receive a second ticket free for children. Ticket prices start at just $39. Children and families are also encouraged to arrive early and enjoy pre-show activities in the Segerstrom Hall lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m., including a coloring station, crafts, photo opportunities and more! Costumed dancers from American Ballet Theatre will also be present for meet-and-greet with photo and selfie opportunities. 

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