Ballet Arkansas’s holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” returns to the Robinson Center Music Hall’s stage Saturday and Sunday, as the group is joined by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra playing the classic music of Tchaikovsky.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.


Tickets range from $16 to $43 and are available through the ASO box office at 666-1761 or at the Robinson box office before the show. Children’s tickets are half-price for Sunday’s matinee.

The ASO will welcome guest directors Harry “Bud” Kerwin and Michelle Jarvis, both of Indianapolis. Guest dancers Sara Sardelli and Michael Green from Butler University in Indianapolis will dance the lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.


Other featured roles such as the Nutcracker Prince, Snow King and the Dew Drop Cavalier will be danced by guest artist Jean Paul Jr. from New York. Local performers will include Michael Davis as Drosselmeyer, Edgar Hall as the Father, Christina Munoz as the Mother, Eric Mann as the Grandfather, Jenny Wittenberg as the Grandmother and Jason Harper as Mother Ginger.

Several former Ballet Arkansas students are returning this year, including Amanda Ensminger as the Mouse Queen, Grace Tilley as the Snow Queen and Joi Chen as the Dew Drop Fairy. Many other Ballet Arkansas students from Shuffles and Ballet II, the official school of Ballet Arkansas, and students from several area schools will provide supporting roles.


More than 175 children have been cast. Dancing the star role of Clara for the Saturday performance is 11-year-old Mallory Ketch of Little Rock, while 12-year-old Adrienne White will dance as Clara on Sunday.

Ballet Arkansas’s annual Nutcracker Tea will be held before Sunday’s performance beginning at 1 p.m. at the Peabody Hotel. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under (a child’s ticket includes a picture with the “Nutcracker” characters). Call 223-5150.