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Nutcracker Dances Back Into Hearts for the Holidays

Clara, Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Mother Ginger take stage at The Arlington

Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s Nutcracker At The Arlington is Dec. 9-10.
Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s Nutcracker At The Arlington is Dec. 9-10. (Santa Barbara Festival Ballet)

Santa Barbara Festival Ballet will present Nutcracker At The Arlington with a live full orchestra, conducted by Elise Unruh, Dec. 9-10. There will be three performances, 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec 10.

The production of E.T.A. Hoffman's classic tale, danced to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, will feature nationally recognized professional guest artists including:

Patricia Delgado, former principal dancer with Miami City Ballet, as Sugar Plum Fairy; Chase Finlay, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, as Cavalier; Michelle Meltzer, with Arial Dance Chicago, as Snow Queen.

Also, Braeden Barnes, with Visceral Dance Chicago, as Snow Cavalier; and Darion Smith, co-founder and artistic director of Janusphere Dance Company in New York City, as Arabian Cavalier.

They will perform with Santa Barbara Festival Ballet Company (SBFB) dancers, UCSB Department of Dance students and student dancers, comprising a cast of 100-plus characters.

SBFB will take the audience on a magical journey full of wonderment and surprise with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.

Herr Drosselmeyer’s Clock Work Dolls come dancing to life; a giant Christmas Tree grows beyond the stage; and viewers are transported to the Kingdom of Sweets with its Dancing Snowflakes, enchanted Waltzing Flowers and Mother Ginger.

Under the artistic direction of Aimee Lopez, this Nutcracker has delighted generations on the Central Coast for decades.

Celebrating its 43rd year., Nutcracker At The Arlington is recognized as one of the longest continuously running productions in the U.S. performed with a live orchestra.

For tickets, call Arlington Box Office, 963-4408 or visit For group ticket sales, visit

— Cindy Elster for Santa Barbara Festival Ballet.


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