Battle of the Nutcrackers: Four Local Productions

When Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, it flopped. But in the last 50 years, it’s become a holiday classic—and today, there are more than 750 versions being danced in the U.S., according to Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s Alyona Yakovleva-Randall. Here are four local productions this season, in a nutshell.

Butler Ballet

The Little Girl

The Choreography Innovative—based on historical presentations of this holiday classic
The Sets Original ones used by the legendary Ruth Page dance company of Chicago
Number of Dancers 124
Bonus Points Live orchestra … Angelic voices of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir during the Snow Scene
Where Clowes Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave., 317-940-9697
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4; 8 p.m. Dec. 5; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 6; 2 p.m. Dec. 7
Tickets $21.50–$28.50; $17 for children, students, and seniors; group discounts available;

Indiana Ballet Conservatory

The Little Girl

Masha (Russian for “Marie”)
The Choreography Traditional—as close to that of the 1892 Russian premiere as possible the sets Painted to match the original Russian sets
Number of Dancers Up to 150
Bonus Points Cast includes a live dog … A Nutcracker drums through the audience during intermission
Where Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St., 317-231-0000; The Toby at Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Rd., 317-923-1331
When 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Murat; 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 13, and 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at The Toby
Tickets $45 and up at the Murat, $20 and up at The Toby;


The Little Girl

The Choreography Avant-garde—inspired by the harsh bouffant style of clowning, a French form
The Sets Um, weird? “The look of the piece is supposed to feel like Herr Drosselmeyer and his band of ragtag performers just happened upon our city and threw a show together, but they don’t totally understand our fashion or how things work,” says NoExit executive director Georgeanna Smith.
Number of Dancers 13
Bonus Points Clowns … Magic tricks … A toilet-seat throne
Where The Irving Theater, 5505 E. Washington St., 317-356-3355
When 8 p.m. Dec. 4–5; 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Dec. 6
Tickets $20; $10 for students and seniors;

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre

The Little Girl

The Choreography Modern and ethnic (which also describes the score, not Tchaikovsky’s original)
The Sets Contemporary
Number of Dancers 60–75
Bonus Points Includes dancers from Russia, Spain, China, India, Scotland, Mexico, France, and Africa
Where Pike Performing Arts Center, 6701 Zionsville Rd., 317-216-5455
When 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 5; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 6; 3 p.m. Dec. 7
Tickets $25; $15 for students and seniors;
Ticket14-Cover-FinalThis article appeared in The Ticket, a 2014 special publication.