Seeing is believing: Area third-graders experience some holiday magic with annual “Nutcracker” performance
by Deirdre Long
Dec 01, 2013 | 4032 views |  0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you’re still wondering whether your child will enjoy this Christmas tradition, these thank-you letters  from past students should do the trick.
If you’re still wondering whether your child will enjoy this Christmas tradition, these thank-you letters from past students should do the trick.
Fighting mice, twirling sugar plum fairies and a Nutcracker prince. The very plot of “The Nutcracker” is a scene a child can only dream of. But this year, for more than 1,800 children, it’s a dream come true.

For more than 30 years the Alabama Ballet has performed George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” in Anniston every December. And this year, thanks to a school outreach program by the Knox Concert Series and sponsorships from area businesses and residents, all the county’s third-graders — as well as some classes from Lincoln and Cleburne County — will have a chance to see the classic performance for free, said Betsy Davis, Knox chair for “The Nutcracker.”

In the weeks leading up to the special school-day performances, a Knox volunteer — Davis herself, or local singer/actresses Jennie Wall — and area ballet dancers have traveled to all of the county’s schools to perform an excerpt from the ballet, teach dance moves and read the story of “The Nutcracker” to the students.

“We go through the story and discuss terms and get them familiar with it,” Davis said. “Thanks to a grant, we got to redo the program last year and have a study guide for teachers and beautiful banners with photos from ‘The Nutcracker.’”

Participation in the student outreach program has grown so much in the last few years that the Alabama Ballet will be back in Anniston to accommodate all the children with two special school-day performances, as well as the Dec. 8 performance that is open to the public.

For an extra-special treat, there is a Sugar Plum Party after the Dec. 8 show. For an additional $25, children can mingle with the dancers onstage and be snowed upon, get a photo taken with one of the dancers and be served food and snacks by a dancer. There are a limited number of tickets for the party available, and they must be ordered in advance.

Features Editor Deirdre Long: 256-294-4152. On Twitter @star_features.

WHAT: “The Nutcracker”
WHEN: Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. Sugar Plum party follows immediately after the performance.
WHERE: Anniston Performing Arts Center, 1301 Woodstock Ave., Anniston
COST: Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for children 11 and younger. Admission to the Sugar Plum Party is an additional $25 a child (accompanying parent admitted free).
INFO: 256-452-1297 or online at

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