By Janice Malone

NASHVILLE, TN — Music City’s favorite holiday tradition will take the stage Dec. 1-23, 2018 at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. Nashville Ballet premiered Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept weaving the city’s glittering past with the awe-inspiring wonder of the classic tale. 

In its 11th season on stage, Nashville’s Nutcracker has cemented itself in the hearts of numerous patrons and young artists as a treasured holiday tradition. Clara’s enchanted journey begins at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville. Along with her Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara meets a colorful cast of characters from faraway lands. When she receives a magical wooden Nutcracker from Drosselmeyer on Christmas Eve, the toy comes to life to lead her on an unforgettable adventure. 

“Nashville’s Nutcracker was designed to be seen over and over again; you find new little details in it each time that make it exciting and fresh. There’s also something to be said for being swept away by the magic of it all – it’s the sort of enchanting story that inevitably elicits a sense of cheerful childlike wonder in all of us, and I think the nostalgia for that feeling brings audiences back year after year,” Nashville Ballet’s Artistic Director Paul Vasterling tells the Tribune during a recent interview. 

Vasterling’s original concept and choreography are complemented by an entirely locally produced production including the dancers, production crew, costumers and musicians. Along with 53 members of Nashville Ballet’s professional company and second company, Nashville’s Nutcracker includes a youth cast of a record-breaking 298 young dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large accompanied by 60 musicians from the Nashville Symphony.

Vasterling adds, “One of the best things about the performing arts is that no two performances will ever be the same! This year our company features many new faces, which means new artists taking on new roles. Several of our company members who have been with Nashville Ballet for years are taking on more challenging roles in this production, which of course brings a fresh take and a new energy to the role. Our youth cast is also bigger than ever, promising an extra dose of cuteness in each performance.”

The Nutcracker made its original debut in Russia in the late 1800’s. The beautiful story and classic music have remained timeless during the Christmas season, no matter which country or city performs it, including here in Nashville. “Nashville’s Nutcracker is a uniquely Nashville version of the beloved classic that I first brought to the stage 11 seasons ago. I wanted to honor and celebrate the city in which we live, so this version of The Nutcracker weaves Nashville’s history and culture into the fabric of the traditional tale. Clara’s journey even takes her to a few of Nashville’s most treasured landmarks like the Parthenon and Belle Meade Mansion!” 

Tickets can be purchased in person at the TPAC box by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at