Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Tchaikovsky’s classic, "The Nutcracker." No need to drive all the way to Seattle, either. Edmonds’ OBT puts on a fine show for your favorite holiday tradition at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The holidays aren’t complete without dressing up and going to see “The Nutcracker,” live. The curtain calls, the rustling of costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s majestic classical arches.

It’s what every child and child at heart lives for in the nights before Christmas.


In the 1800s, French choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky to put ballet, classical music, and story — E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King” — together in a score for the ages.

“The Nutcracker” became a holiday classic ever since, performed by countless ballet dance companies worldwide, from the first one over 120 years ago in St. Petersburg, Russia’s Marinsky Theatre, days before Christmas… to the first U.S. adaptation by the San Francisco Opera Ballet in 1944, directed by William Christensen.

In Edmonds, professional and student dancers from the Olympic Ballet Theatre and Olympic Ballet School come together every holiday season to put on quite a show of fantasy, friendship, courage, and the magic of a Winter Wonderland Forest come to brilliant life.

When the Covid pandemic shut businesses down in March 2020, theaters were forced to go dark, then virtual until finally, they started to make a comeback a year later — with live, in-person performances again (and safe protocols in place).

After 20 long months of canceled, in-person performances, Edmonds’ own Olympic Ballet Theatre (OBT) returns to the live stage and to its adoring audience, kicking off the 2021-2022 season with the tried-and-true holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 10-21, at both the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) and the Everett Performing Arts Center.

“The Nutcracker” follows the adventures of a young girl named Clara on Christmas Eve, and what happens when she falls asleep with her godfather Herr Drosselmeyer’s gift, the Nutcracker, in the family’s living room…

The Nutcracker’s battle with the seven-headed Mouse King… The Snow King and his magical reindeer in the Winter Wonderland Forest… Flying in a chestnut shell boat to Candy Kingdom to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier… A celebration and crowning in honor of Princess Clara and the Nutcracker Prince defeating the Mouse King… Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier’s magnificent Grand Pas de Deux…

A child’s dream come true.

OBT performs “The Nutcracker” at the Everett Performing Arts Center (Dec. 10-12) and the Edmonds Center for the Arts (Dec. 17-21). Artistic directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev provide the choreography, with set design by Jeannette Franz, Ruth Gilmore, and Phillip Lineau, all set to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score.

“The Nutcracker” production features a cast of over 100 performers — a mix of professional OBT company dancers in principal roles and students from the Olympic Ballet School, which is the best kind of education there is.

“We are so excited to be back in rehearsals after the challenges and interruptions of the last two years. Our dancers are thrilled to get back to the art they love and to perform live for our audiences,”  artistic directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev share in a release. “We are also so happy to be able to give our Olympic Ballet School students opportunities to be onstage alongside professional dancers. We hope these experiences will support young dancers and help them grow their skills on and off the stage.”

Tickets: $25 to $48, with abridged matinee productions for schools and large groups. Required: face masks and ID, with proof of vaccination or negative Covid test, taken within 72 hours of performance.

(Those unable to watch “The Nutcracker” in-person can view two archival recordings, unlimited digital access, from OBT’s 2019 shows at ECA and Everett. Each show costs $25 to view for seven days from purchase, beginning Dec. 1.)

Upcoming OBT productions at ECA:

Debuts,” featuring new works by contemporary choreographers Norbert De La Cruz III (‘Til the Mermaid Drags You Under”), Price Suddarth (“Borderland”), and Emily Schoen Branch's world premiere, Feb. 12-13
Don Quixote” in three acts, with sets by Emmy-winning set designer John Iacovelli, May 14-15
Summer Performance’s” nod to classical, contemporary, neoclassical ballet, past-present, June 3

Feature photo: Frank Borg and OBS student Kaeli Pierce
Additional photos: OBT trainee Natalie Gregorich, Jose Iglesias and Mara Vinson
Credit: Into Dust Photography