Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute today announced Ballet West's appearance on The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' 2012-13 Ballet Season Schedule.

The Company will bring Ballet West Founder Willam F. Christensen's iconic version of "The Nutcracker," Dec. 5 through Dec. 9.

Hailed by New York Times Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay as "one of the best productions I've ever seen," Ballet West's The Nutcracker will be accompanied by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and will include Washington, D.C.-area children in the youth roles.

"Our founder Willam Christensen created the first full-length Nutcracker in America," said Sklute. "It has been delighting audiences out West for nearly 60 years and now it feels so right to finally bring this truly American Classic to our nation's capital."

After founding the San Francisco Ballet, Christensen not only created the first full-length American production of "The Nutcracker" but also of "Coppélia" and "Swan Lake."

Christensen's "The Nutcracker" was originally choreographed for San Francisco Ballet after conversations with Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine.

"The Nutcracker" had its Utah premiere on Dec. 27, 1955 at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus.

The first American to choreograph a full-length version of the ballet, Christensen used guest artists in primary roles and drew on children from several Salt Lake dance studios to fill the additional parts.


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The result was a cast of 75 local dancers.

The large cast brought with it the interest of family and friends, who snapped up tickets for the performances, resulting in an add-on matinee and sold-out houses.

Since then, Ballet West's "The Nutcracker" has become Utah's favorite holiday tradition.

Ballet West is among the world's finest ballet companies to appear on The Kennedy Center's 2012-13 Ballet Season. The company joins American Ballet Theatre, Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and Ballet Across America III, which showcases regional ballet companies from across the country.

In wide-ranging programming that covers theater, dance, music of all kinds and productions for young people, the Kennedy Center continues its commitment, as the nation's center for the performing arts, to producing and presenting the best of national and international arts. For more information about the Kennedy Center, visit www.kennedy-center.org .

"Ballet West is honored to return to the Kennedy Center this Christmas season, and I am thrilled to share our acclaimed production of 'The Nutcracker,'" said Sklute.

Ballet West's "The Nutcracker" will continue to be performed at the Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 13-16, 18-24 and 26-29.

Tickets to "The Nutcracker" are available now as a season subscription by calling (801) 869-6900 or by visiting www.balletwest.org . Single tickets are on sale now.