New Nutcracker coming soon


Experience all the magic of the holiday classic with a special Black Friday performance on Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. as Downtown Dance Conservatory presents The Old World Nutcracker at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center in Gadsden. 

Housed in the Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, the conservatory has been the heart of the local classical ballet community for over 10 years. The organization has collaborated, staged, and hosted many Nutcracker productions. 

The Conservatory’s collaboration of Le Casse Noix Moderne: The Modern Nutcracker with the Etowah Youth Orchestras made a run for two years including a sell-out production in New York City. The production was also nominated as one of the top 50 most original Nutcrackers in the nation with the Goldstar Nutcracker award. The DDC has also hosted, auditioned, and staged the Great Russian Nutcracker for two seasons with the internationally recognized Moscow Ballet. 

“The community agreed that with the quality of ballet or students are able to present, that we could produce our own locally grown Nutcracker with all the magic and glamour of the larger productions performed around the country,” said DDC Artistic Director Linze Rickles McRae. 

And so, Gadsden’s Old World Nutcracker was born. 

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is one of the most widely performed ballet and musical scores in the world. McRae has taken inspiration from the original Marius Petipa choreography and story from E.T.A Hoffman by adding a Russian flare with an interesting twist on the origins and culture of the Nutcracker tradition. 

The story begins with a Christmas Eve gathering at the Stahlbaum house. Marie and her little brother Fritz are enjoying the festivities when their mysterious godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, arrives. A famous toymaker, he brings his dolls to dance for all the children of the party. Marie receives the most beautiful doll of all, a Nutcracker Princess Soldier. Marie falls asleep under the tree with her beloved doll. Marie awakens at midnight to find the Evil Spider Queen, Evilla Baba Yaga, and her army of spiders circling the room. She looks around to see that she is now the size of her toys. Her brave Nutcracker Princess has come to life! A battle ensues, as the Nutcracker Princess wins victory over the Spider Queen. She magically transforms to become the Sugar Plum Fairy, Queen of the Land of Sweets. Marie is whisked away into a land of frozen flurries to find herself in a magical land where the sweets join in to celebrate. 

Dancers all around the community ages 7-12 turned out to audition for the community youth cast this year. Those dancers perform alongside the upper school and principal soloists of the DDC. 

Tickets will go on sale Oct. 1 at, and at the Hardin Center for Cultural Arts. They range in price from $15- $21. 

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