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Interlochen Arts Academy’s “The Nutcracker” to welcome in-person audiences once again

The Arts Academy’s popular production of the iconic holiday ballet returns this season with five in-person performances, including two matinees.

A dancing bear

A dancing bear entertains guests at the Stahlbaum home.

This December, for the first time since 2019, the Interlochen Arts Academy Dance Division will present public, in-person performances of The Nutcracker.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet will run for five performances, including a newly added Sunday matinee. Performance dates are: Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. All performances will be held in Corson Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at

A global holiday tradition for more than 100 years, The Nutcracker follows Clara and the enchanted Nutcracker prince as they journey through the Land of Sweets. Interlochen’s production—which will feature 41 young dancers from 22 U.S. states and Canada—boasts exquisite hand-stitched costumes, lush scenic design, and live accompaniment by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, conducted by Leslie Dunner. After utilizing creative, socially distant choreography in 2020, performers will resume traditional staging and full-contact partnering.

“We are thrilled to welcome audiences back to Corson Auditorium this holiday season,” Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey said. “For dancers, there is no substitute for the thrill of performing for a live audience. The Nutcracker is always particularly special: it’s truly magical to look out into the audience and see so many children in their holiday best, eyes lit up with wonder. We hope our performance brings a small glimpse of that magic into your holiday season.”

To celebrate the return of live audiences to this holiday favorite, Interlochen will host a youth drawing contest for an opportunity to win tickets to this year’s production. The contest runs Nov. 15 through Dec. 1. Winners will receive their choice of up to four tickets for the evening performance on Friday, Dec. 10, or Saturday, Dec. 11, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the production.

In compliance with Interlochen’s COVID-19 policy, all visitors must wear masks while inside campus buildings and for the duration of the performance. COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended for those eligible.