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BTC’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Opens This Week at The Bushnell

Mayara Pineiro and Ashton Roxander, Principal Dancers with Philadelphia Ballet, will join BTC's cast in the coveted roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Courtesy photo

West Hartford-based Ballet Theatre Company will perform their unique version of ‘The Nutcracker beginning Dec. 1, 2023 at The Bushnell in Hartford.


The Nutcracker, presented by Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) opens at The Bushnell’s Maxwell M. & Ruth R. Belding Theater this week.

After presenting four nearly sold-out performances of The Nutcracker in 2022, BTC is pleased to offer five public performances: Dec. 1st at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.; or Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. for our standard performance offerings. If you have a family member or friend with sensory-sensitivities, or other needs that might prevent attending a traditional theater performance, we encourage you to join us on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. for our special presentation of The Nutcracker: A Sensory-Friendly Ballet.

BTC’s The Nutcracker, choreographed by BTC Artistic Director Stephanie Dattellas, follows the beloved story of a young girl named Clara who goes on an adventure with her magical Nutcracker doll after the rest of the family has gone to sleep for the evening. Dattellas brings the traditional storyline to life with her own twists and excitement for all audience members. Fan favorites include: the breakdancing Mice Battalion featuring Studio-860 as part of the epic Battle Scene, Dattellas’ enchanting rendition of “Waltz of the Flowers” which features a swirl of dancers in a landscape of flower garlands, the dancing dolls echoing West Hartford’s very own Noah Webster and the Blue-Backed Speller Book, and so much more.

BTC is thrilled to announce Mayara Pineiro and Ashton Roxander, Principal Dancers of Philadelphia Ballet, will join the cast to perform the coveted roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Pineiro, originally from Cuba, joined Philadelphia Ballet in 2014 and was quickly promoted to a Principal in 2016. “She’s one of those dancers that comes only every once in a while,” said Philadelphia Ballet’s Artistic Director Angel Corella. Roxander joined Philadelphia Ballet in 2016 and was promoted to Principal this year. Roxander studied at the Boston Ballet School on a full scholarship after training with his parents at an early age. He was recently featured in Pointe Magazine alongside his brother and father.

In addition to Pineiro and Roxander, several other talented dancers will join BTC’s 2023 cast of The Nutcracker. Derek Brockginton (Dance Theatre of Harlem) will perform the Snow King and Peppermint, Keith Reeves (MET Opera) will perform in Hot Chocolate and Peppermints, Luis Ocaranza (Ballet RI) will perform in Coffee, and breakdancers of Studio-860 will be featured in the Battle Scene.

BTC’s new growing Christmas Tree, designed by BTC Scenic Designer, Jacob Sikorski, is a new and exciting addition to this year’s production. The Tree was painted by Cobalt Studios, fabricated by Philadelphia Scenic Works, and made possible by funding from The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation. Courtesy photo

BTC also welcomes a brand new scenic piece to its 2023 production, the Growing Christmas Tree. The drop is seen in Act I during the Party and Battle Scenes and holds a key responsibility in the storyline. The tree provides a skewed perspective, allowing audiences to experience the transformation of the parlor through Clara’s eyes as mice and toy soldiers become life size. The growth is one of our first glimpses, and arguably the most important, of the magic to come in the rest of the ballet.

“When we first see the Tree in the Parlor, the lower 75% of the drop is folded on the ground,” shared designer Jacob Sikorski. “This is the low position and appears as a normal tree in scale at 8 feet hight. For the growth, the rigging pipe that the tree is hung on flies out, unfurling the remaining length of the drop and revealing the true height of 23 feet.” The Tree was painted by Cobalt Studios, fabricated by Philadelphia Scenic Works, and made possible by funding from The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

With multiple options to choose from, there’s a presentation of BTC’s The Nutcracker for everyone this holiday season. Tickets generally sell quickly, so purchasing early is recommended to ensure you have a seat to experience the magic with BTC this December. To purchase tickets for our public performances (including A Sensory-Friendly Ballet), visit the website.

Ballet Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Support for Season 25 is provided by: Connecticut Humanities. CT Office of the Arts, The Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, The William & Alice Mortensen Foundation, Ahearn Family Foundation, The Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, The Davenport Hatch Foundation, Henry Hall Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee, The Buchalter and Breslow Family, The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation, The Petit Family Foundation, The Ensworth Charitable Trust, We-Ha.com, Laurel Graphic Design, Cricket Press, Connecticut Public, Massage Envy West Hartford, Homestead Funding, Theatrical Stage Employees Local 84, and Beam & Barre.

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