Interlochen Arts Academy brings "The Nutcracker" to life with magic and beauty

The Arts Academy Dance Co., Orchestra, and Choir join theatre students and over a dozen children from local schools to create a dazzling production of this timeless holiday classic December 12, 13, and 14.

Exquisite ballet, dazzling costumes, and breathtaking scenic design are hallmarks of the Interlochen Arts Academy Dance Co.’s production of The Nutcracker this holiday season. Performances will take place in Corson Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.

A timeless holiday tradition, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's beloved classical ballet follows young Clara’s adventures through a fantastical land after her magical toy nutcracker comes to life. Arts Academy dancers will be accompanied by the Arts Academy Orchestra and Choir. Academy theatre students add playful fun as mice, bakers, and grandparents—with help from over a dozen dancers ages 6 to 11 from Traverse City area schools.

Joseph Morrissey, Interlochen’s Director of Dance, first choreographed the production in 2015 and is thrilled to introduce several enhancements this year. “Each time, my goal is to make the performance feel new,” Morrissey said. Audience members who have seen The Nutcracker at Interlochen in recent years can expect to see embellished set designs and ornate new costumes that were tailormade in Ukraine for Interlochen dancers.

This year’s production also features a newly choreographed Sugar Plum pas de deux—the famous duet danced by the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluche. “This new pas de deux respects Lev Ivanov’s original 1892 choreography, with a simplicity that I tailored for our students,” Morrissey said. Students An Phan and Emma Skrzypczak recently gave a sneak peek of the pas de deux at the Chicago International Dance Festival.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call the Interlochen Box Office at 800.681.5920.