The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet (SBFB) will present “The Nutcracker,” at the Arlington Theatre for three live performances Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11-12.

“After a year’s hiatus, we’re thrilled to be celebrating our 46th anniversary with a brilliant ensemble and world-renowned guest artists from Dance Theatre of Harlem,” said Valerie Huston, SBFB resident choreographer and interim executive director. “We adapted during the pandemic with Zoom classes and parking lot practices, which kept us on pointe to deliver our most spectacular showcase ever.”

Creating holiday memories for all ages, the production features enchanting sets and costumes with a full symphony orchestra bringing Tchaikovsky’s iconic score to life.

A cast of hundreds takes audiences on a magical journey with heroine Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker, and the Mouse King, where dancing tin soldiers, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and waltzing flowers add a spark to the holiday fantasy. 

The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier are a highlight of Clara’s adventure, performed by acclaimed guest artists Alexandra Hutchinson and Kouadio Davis from Dance Theater of Harlem. The role of Clara will be danced by Evelyn Mills, joined by an ensemble of students from UCSB and SBFB. Elise Unruh conducts the live orchestra.

Nutcracker performances are at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range in price from $35-$58 and can be purchased online at or the Arlington Box Office, 805-963-4408. Discounts apply to groups of 10 or more.

Following state Covid protocols and safety guidelines, patrons over 12 years of age are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result within a 72-hour window.