Take a Christmas Eve party with a puppet show, life-size mechanical dolls, mysterious favorite uncle and a wooden nutcracker, combine it with one of the most famous of Tchaikovsky's scores and the stage is set for "The Nutcracker."
Follow young Clara's magical midnight adventure in which she encounters a mouse king, dancing snowflakes, handsome Nutcracker Prince and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy who rules the Land of Sweets.
Three area dance companies are presenting this classic ballet this weekend. Here's an overview of when and where.
CHATTANOOGA BALLET & CSO
» When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10
» Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
» Admission: $22 and $26
» For more information: 423-642-TIXS
These performances mark Chattanooga Ballet's 30th anniversary production of "The Nutcracker" with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, conducted by Kayoko Dan. Chattanooga Ballet's first presentation included a cast of 60 dancers; this weekend's cast numbers more than 220, according to director Bob Willie.
Sharing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy will be professional dancers Samantha Sole and guest artist Claire Young, partnered by guest artist Ricardo Rhodes, principal dancer with the Sarasota Ballet.
Caroline Blair and Samantha Sole will dance the role of the Snow Queen, partnered by Dillon Davis. The role of young Clara will be shared by Sydney Houck and Rebecca Turner.
Nena Widtfeldt and Caroline Blair will dance the role of the Rose Queen, Avery Tisdale and Harrison Wells will perform as the Nutcracker Prince.
TENNESSEE YOUTH BALLET
» When: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8; noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9
» Where: Lee University, Dixon Center, Cleveland, Tenn,
» Admission: $20. Tickets available at Dixon Center after 4 p.m., cash only.
» For more information: 423-476-3030
Artistic Director Heidi Longwith says Madelyn Robinson has been cast as Clara for this production and Gabriel Shoop will be her Nutcracker Prince. Other principals are Lindsay Markham as the Mouse Queen and Don Markham as Herr Drosselmeyer.
CIVIC BALLET OF CHATTANOOGA
» When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10
» Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.
» Admission: $15
» For more information: 423-425-4269
The Civic Ballet of Chattanooga will present its 35th annual production of "The Nutcracker" this weekend under the direction of Donna Massari and David Wood with dancers from Massari-Wood Dance Center.
Appearing in the key role of Clara is Ryan Brown-Ezell and, in the title role as the Nutcracker, Joseph Henry.
This production features Anna Thomas Chambers as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sean Stagerwald, guest artist from the Georgia Ballet, is the Cavalier; Emma Hines is the Snow Queen and Matthew Rice, also from the Georgia Ballet, is Snow King.
The Arabian Princess and Prince are Jamie Martof Jones and Cornelius Heard. Megan Hines will dance as the Dew Drop Fairy.
— Compiled by staff writer Susan Pierce