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Holiday Dance Guide

The world famous snow scene from Pacific Northwest Ballet’s
NutcrackerPhoto © Angela Sterling
Tis the season…for dance! Dancers and presenters around town are all getting into the holiday spirit with a huge variety of holiday themed shows. There’s something out there for everyone from the biggest Grinch to the most excitable little bon bon. To help decide which showor if you’re feeling extra festive, showsto see this season, we’ve compiled this handy holiday dance guide.
Black Nativity

December 6­23, The Moore Theater

Now in its third year as a Seattle holiday tradition, this gospel play written by American poet and novelist Langston Hughes features powerful vocal and dance performances. Pastor Patrinell Wright and the Black Nativity choir provide the soulful songs while Jamel Gaines of Creative Outlet Dance Theater in Brooklyn provides the choreography. A spirited and inspiring show, the performance will also feature special guest gospel and R&B star BeBe Winans for performances on December 21­23. Black Nativity plays for the next three weeks at a variety of times. For further information about show times and to purchase tickets, click here.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

December 8­9, Shorecrest Performing ArtsCenter

Now in its sixteenth year, Dance Fremont’s production is another stirring holiday tradition based on the tender Hans Christian Andersen tale. It features live music, locally designed sets and costumes, and choreography by Dance Fremont director Vivian Little. This year’s lead roles will be danced by Iyun Harrison, director of Ashani Dances, and Dance Fremont ballerina Clare Bawden.  Tickets are available here.

Una Ludviksen and Iyun Ashani Harrison
Photo by Colleen Dishy
Handel’s Messiah

December 28-30, Meydenbauer Theater

Ballet Bellevuebrings together opera and ballet in their production of Handel’s Messiah. Choreographed by Bellevuenative, and Idaho Dance Theater company member, Sayoko Knode, the program uses contemporary ballet to  tell the story of the Messiah. Accompanied by live musicians and singers and conducted by Dr. Linda Gingrich, this may well become a new holiday tradition for local singers and dancers alike. Tickets are available here.
Homo for the Holidays

December 14­24, West Hall in the OddfellowsBuilding

A quirky, queer, and undeniably festive mix of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and music, Homo for the Holidays is less Christmas in July, more Pride in December. Created by DeLouRue Presents (the team of Ben DeLaCreme, Kitten LaRue, and Lou Henry Hoover), the show turns the holiday tradition on its head with irreverent hilarity. Tickets can be purchased here.

And of course: The Nutcracker

America’s favorite ballet is a long-standing holiday tradition and Seattle is host to many productions, all with their own unique features.

Pacific Northwest Ballet

December 7­29, McCaw Hall

The largest Nut in town is surely Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stowell and Sendak rendition. A definite departure from the traditional Nutcracker story, PNB’s production is made unique by Sendak’s whimsical sets and costumes, and a slightly modified story-line. Performances run through the end of December, including a Christmas Eve performance dubbed the Nutty Nutcracker, where extra gags and frivolity abound. Tickets range from $35–135 and can be purchased at

ARC Nutcracker Sweets

December 7­15, ARC Dance Space and the Leo K Theater

This production is designed specifically with the little ones in mind. Only an hour and half long, it features ARC Dance students in an abbreviated version of the Nutcracker story. Tickets range from $20–30 and are available here.

Emerald City Ballet

December 8­9, Northshore Performing ArtsCenter

One of the few productions with live music, this Nutcracker is accompanied by the Rainier Symphony Ballet Orchestra. Along with the students of Emerald City Ballet, it also will be bringing in American Ballet Theater soloists Sascha Radetsky and Maria Riccetto. Tickets are available here.

Evergreen City Ballet

December 8­16, Auburn and Renton

A delightful production by the student company of Evergreen City Ballet, this is another rendition the whole family can enjoy. A period-based production, it includes a beautifully costumed party scene, the traditional Madame Bon Bon, and even mice that escape into the audience. Tickets range from $13–35 and can be purchased here.

International Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker
Photo by Rex Tranter
International Ballet Theater

December 14­23, Meydenbauer Theater, Bellevue

The closest you’ll get to the original Russian production from 1892, International Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker features lush sets and costumes from Ukraineas well as choreography in the traditional Russian style by director Vera Altunina. Filled with pageantry, it showcases an exotic Arabian butterfly, a fierce battle scene, and a dainty young Clara and her dashing prince. With several guest principal artists the ranks are filled out by IBT’s professional division students and children. Tickets range from $25–50 and can be purchased here.

Olympic Ballet Theater

December 8­23, Arlington, Edmonds, and Everett

Another more traditional production, Olympic Ballet’s rendition features a growing Christmas tree, a booming Cannon, and a flock of Mother Ginger’s buffoons. Tickets can be purchased here.

Tacoma City Ballet

December 8­23, Pantages Theater, Tacoma

Another production with live music, Tacoma City Ballet’s production is accompanied by the Northwest Sinfonietta. A historical piece, it also aligns closely with the original 1892 Russian production with old-world charm and lavish sets and costumes. Tickets range from $19–60 and are available here.

Miss Indigo Blue as the Countess of Candies in
Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker
Photo by Chris Blakeley
Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker

December 11­27, The Triple Door

If the ballet version of the Nutcracker is just too sweet for you, the Burlesque Nutcracker will add some spice to your season. Now in its sixth year, this spectacle of ecdysiastic pageantry created by Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann dazzles, sizzles, and entertains. With performances like Waxie Moon’s nefarious Rat King, Verlaine’s steamy Countess of Coffee, and Kitten La Rue’s vibrant Hot Chocolate, the show mixes singing, acrobatics, and clever bawdiness. See a review of last year’s production here and purchase tickets (ranging from $28–35) here.