The Festival Ballet of North Central Texas

The Festival Ballet of North Central Texas is a vibrant company with a broad reach. Beginning in 1988, Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition in Denton. The aim of the Festival Ballet is to provide a professional, quality performing experience for its 200-plus cast members and its 5,000-plus audience members.

In addition to The Nutcracker, the Festival Ballet presents lecture/demonstration programs to area public schools and other community service performances. Dancers for the company are chosen through open auditions held in August and September each year. The Festival Ballet has dancers who represent thirty communities in the north central region of Texas, as well as a dancers from Oklahoma, Colorado, Ohio, New York and Europe. We would like to extend a sincere appreciation and recognition to the area dance schools that make up the Festival Ballet, and their teachers who sent their very best students in order to make this evening of dance a magical one.

The History of The Nutcracker

The inspiration for The Nutcracker ballet comes from a tale of E.T. A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, first published in Germany in 1816. This dark, gothic fairy tale was at first thought by Tchaikovsky unsuitable for ballet. However, in 1890 he was offered the opportunity to compose a ballet based on a newer, French version of the tale adapted by Alexandre Dumas, entitled Casse-Noisette. Completed in the spring of 1892, The Nutcracker was first performed on December 18, 1892 at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The popular reaction to the new work was lukewarm, and the press was hostile. Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother on December 22, “This is the fourth day on which the periodicals have been carving up my latest creation…It is not the first time. The abuse does not annoy me at all, and yet—as always under these circumstances—I am in a hateful state of mind.” Since the New York City Ballet revival in 1954 under the direction of George Balanchine, The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition and continues to grow more popular.