The Sarasota Ballet celebrates the beauty of the holidays this year in a uniquely Sarasota fashion, with the return of “John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker” Dec. 20-21 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Created in 2012 for The Sarasota Ballet, John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker beautifully revitalizes E.T.A. Hoffmann’s traditional winter season tale through the lens of a narrative based around Sarasota icons John and Mable Ringling and Sarasota’s circus ties. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score will be performed live by the Sarasota Orchestra, making this the only Nutcracker in the Sarasota-Manatee area with a full orchestra. Complemented by Peter Docherty’s exquisite costume designs, this production blends classic and modern elements to breathe new life into the beloved ballet that has spread holiday joy for over a century.

“For generations ‘The Nutcracker’ has inspired families across the nation and has become for many a holiday tradition,” explains Iain Webb, director of The Sarasota Ballet. “The pairing of classical ballet splendor and dynamic circus acts makes for a magnificent combination, supported by vibrant and lavish sets that build an incredibly festive family atmosphere. Of course, this production would not exist if it wasn’t for the rich cultural history of Sarasota, around which much of this version of The Nutcracker was crafted. ‘John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker’ serves as a tribute to Sarasota’s deep circus connections, as well as honoring the city itself that has supported the growth of our Company these past 29 seasons, and hopefully for many more.”

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