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Dayton Ballet Debuts a Stunning New Production of The Nutcracker Accompanied by the Dayton Philharmonic

Chuck Duritsch
Communications and Media Manager
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138

DAYTON, OH (November 18, 2013) – On Friday through Sunday, December 13th to 15th, and Friday through Sunday, December 20th to 22nd, in the Mead Theatre of Schuster Center, Dayton Ballet will present a sparkling all-new production of The Nutcracker sponsored by Vectren for the eleventh consecutive season.

What does it take to mount an entirely new production of this holiday classic with a timeless score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky performed live with Maestro Neal Gittleman conducting the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra? The answer is a year of passionate planning, sketching, building, sewing and setting new choreography.

The curtain of last season’s production of The Nutcracker was only just closed when Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke and Set Designer Ray Zupp began the discussion of mounting a new version. Unlike the acclaimed previous production that offered a hometown spin on the classic story that ran for ten seasons, this new production returns to the original storyline about Clara and her magical Christmas Eve journey. The new production design is however not classic; it features state-of-the-art sets built by Dayton’s Scenic Solutions and includes fiber optics and special effects by Dayton lighting designer Daniel McLaughlin that infuses bright colors into the “Land of the Sweets” dream sequence.

More than 250 new costumes were designed and constructed by Resident Costume Designer Lowell Mathwich. He transferred his vision into sketches before setting off to the New York City’s Garment District in search of unusual and elegant fabrics, laces, beading and trimmings of all types.

Ms. Russo Burke’s choreography features the entire ballet company of 19 professional dancers and more than 100 young dancers from Dayton Ballet II’s Junior and Senior companies and from area dance schools. And, at one hour and forty-five minutes, it’s “family friendly” because it’s not the three-hour version.

The Nutcracker performances are: Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 15 at 2:30 p.m.; Friday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 21 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 22 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $70 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at box office. 

For the younger set, Dayton Ballet Barre will hold its annual Nutcracker Tea on Sunday, December 15 at 1 p.m. at Boston Stoker, across Second St. from the Schuster Center, which includes treats and beverages, activities and souvenirs for $10. Backstage tours of The Nutcracker are available for all ages for $10 following both Saturday matinee performances and include refreshments. Tickets are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at

For those seeking a walk down memory lane, the former Rike’s Department Store animated holiday windows are on display in the Schuster Center Wintergarden. Kids can shop at the Tike’s Shoppe and meet Santa on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. And everyone can visit the Dayton Ballet Nutcracker boutique featuring hundreds of large holiday nutcrackers and ballet-themed items for sale. And to complete everyone’s visit to the Kingdom of Sweets, Graeter’s Ice Cream will offer holiday goodies – (do I smell gingerbread?) – available for purchase at each performance.

Ms. Russo Burke will conduct a post-performance Q&A along with some of the dancers after each performance.

The Dayton Ballet began 76 years ago, when Josephine Schwarz and her sister, Hermene, opened The Schwarz School of Dance. "Miss Jo" later studied at the School of American Ballet, but returned home after receiving an injury while performing in New York. In May 1937, Miss Jo and Miss Hermene gathered together the school's finest dancers, named the troupe "The Experimental Group for Young Dancers," and staged a performance at the Dayton Art Institute. This was the first performance of what is now the 76-season-old Dayton Ballet.


About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.  The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.  

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