The Nutcracker

A magical holiday tradition for our students, families, and audience.
A great first experience for our students to fall in love with the stage in this classical story ballet.

The Nutcracker Spirit

Keeping the spirit of The Nutcracker alive through weekly variations classes and transformed performance opportunities

Class Placement

Nutcracker Prep Classes
September 8 - 11, 2020

Nutcracker Prep Classes will serve as placement classes for "The Nutcracker Spirit" class groupings. More information on our Summer Sessions Page.

Dancers unable to attend Nutcracker Prep Classes will need to schedule a 30-minute private placement class for "The Nutcracker Spirit" placement. Please note that tuition for a 30-minute private placement class is $50.

Weekly Classes

Saturday Afternoons

Each class of dancers will have the opportunity to learn Nutcracker variations from the ABAA Nutcracker Ballet.

Date Event
9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/24 Class/Rehearsal
10/17, 10/31 NO CLASS/REHEARSAL: Fall Break & Halloween
11/7, 11/14, 11/21 Class/Rehearsal
11/28 NO CLASS/REHEARSAL: Thanksgiving Break
12/5 Class/Rehearsal
12/12 Last Day with Performance

Class Fee

1 hour class 45 minute class 30 minute class
$198 $149 $99

If you are in more than one role, dancer fee will equal total number of rehearsal hours. EXAMPLE: Role 1 is an hour class. Role 2 is a 45 minute class. Total fee: $347.

All fees are due upon acceptance and there will be no refunds.


In Week 9, each class will have to opportunity to perform their variations. Performances will take shape according to public health guidance, and may be presented:

  • At a theatre (this will incur an additional fee, and a minimum ticket purchase will be required)
  • As an in-studio showcase performance, without a live stream (if an audience can be present, there will be a patron ticket fee per attendee)
  • As an in-studio showcase performance, with a live stream component (if live streaming is available, an admission fee will be charged for the virtual performance)
  • If including a live audience of any sort is not feasible, a video of the performance will be taken and an additional video charge will be added

We are still evaluating the role of costuming in these performances. If costuming is feasible, an extra costuming fee would be applied to each student per costume used

Nutcracker FAQs

Please note that these FAQs reflect our past seasons' live Nutcracker performances. 2020's "Nutcracker Spirit" may differ from this information.

Any dancer age 5 through adult enrolled in a ballet class at ABAA for the 2019-2020 School Year can participate. You must attend the audition on Saturday, September 7, 2019 to be cast in a role. Dancers must sign the Nutcracker Contract and agree to be on time and in attendance for all rehearsals and performances.

Yes. To be eligible to participate in the ABAA Nutcracker, dancers must be enrolled in a ballet class at ABAA for the entire School Year.

We try to cast as many dancers as we have costumes for! Last year, we completely filled all casting with 150 dancers and expect that to be the capacity for future years. If you are not cast this year, try again next year and ask us how you can prepare. We will try to help you meet your goals.

We do not have a formal pre-registration process at this time. However, it will speed up the check-in process if you complete the Nutcracker Audition Form ahead of time and bring it to the audition. This form is available online (PDF) and at the ABAA office. You can also be measured ahead of time - just stop by the front desk during the week of Nutcracker Prep Classes to do so.

On audition day, please arrive 30 minutes prior to your audition time to check in. Your audition fee and measurements must be taken at time of registration (if measurements weren't taken in advance).

Girls should wear a black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, and their hair secured in a ballet bun. Younger dancers from the Pre-Ballet Division may wear their pastel leotards. Boys should wear a white t-shirt, black pants/capris/tights, and black ballet shoes.

No, this is a closed audition. We want to take the pressure off our brave dancers!

The audition fee is $20 per individual, and the participation fee is $225. This covers maintenance and tailoring of the costumes, teacher/choreographer expenses, theatre security, and a performance DVD and photography with additional print cost. We try to make this an affordable opportunity for all families.

An emailed casting notification will be sent to the address on each dancer’s audition form, whether they are cast or not. This message will be sent no later than Friday, September 13, 2019. It will include the dancer’s schedule and participation contract. Please contact the studio if you do not receive an email by Saturday morning a week after auditions, or if you have questions about the schedule.

The deadline to turn in your contract with participation fee is 7pm on Sunday, September 15, 2019. If we have not received your contract by the deadline, we must assume you have decided not to participate. To ensure on-time casting, this deadline is final, and we appreciate your attention to it.

You will receive your role at your first scheduled rehearsal. We continue to utilize this practice in order to encourage dancers to accept and perform any part or parts they have been awarded -- navigating the casting process is an important part of any dance education!

The directors will not discuss casting decisions, in any manner. Please trust that our decisions are in the best interest of every dancer involved.

All of the roles in our ballet are “good parts” and are essential to the magic of the production. There are many factors we consider when casting roles: age, ability, size of the costume, style of choreography best suited for a dancer -- the list goes on! If you had your heart set on a specific role, please remember that there will be future opportunities. We ask for your trust in our casting, and we know you will have a great time onstage!

The directors will not discuss casting decisions, in any manner. Please trust that our decisions are in the best interest of every dancer involved.

Yes! Absolutely! Each group has a limited number of rehearsals before we begin to run the entire show, so we ask all dancers to be sure they can commit to all rehearsals, unless approved by the director before before turning in a contract. If you have conflicts with rehearsals this year, try out next year.

Rehearsals take place on Saturdays from 12-7 pm. Each part will rehearse for 30-60 minutes. Please indicate on your audition form if there is a time frame within which you are unavailable to rehearse. Any missed rehearsals must be indicated on the audition form and approved ahead of time by the Artistic Director.

To all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, costume fittings, etc., girls should wear pink tights, a solid color leotard, ballet shoes, and their hair in a neat, secure bun. Boys should wear white t-shirts, black tights, and black ballet shoes.

No.The cost of our elaborate Nutcracker costumes is high, and we do not believe in asking parents to make such a purchase year after year. Instead, we have assembled a set of high-quality costumes that are carefully cleaned and stored for the following year after use. Each dancer is responsible for treating the ABAA costume(s) they wear with respect and care. For hygienic reasons, dancers are expected to provide their own tights, shoes, and undergarments as required by their role.

Four performances are scheduled for the weekend of Friday, December 20 - Sunday, December 22, 2019:

  • Friday, December 20 at 7 pm
  • Saturday, December 21 at 2 pm
  • Saturday, December 21 at 6 pm
  • Sunday, December 22 at 3 pm

All shows will be performed at the Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 S 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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