Nutcracker Online Performances 2020

The annual Nutcracker season is upon us and with many theatres closed and ballet companies working at reduced capacity, you may be wondering how to get your fix of Soldiers, Snow, and Sugarplums.

The good news is that several companies are offering this traditional holiday production – or some variation of it – in other formats: online streaming, television broadcasts, and cinema showings.

The Nutcracker Online Performances 2020 list below focuses on just those that are available to a broader, global audience.

To find all Nutcracker performances – whether they be in-person, on the big screen, broadcasting on your local television channel, or online – plus information about the plot, the characters, and a Nutcracker playlist check out our dedicated Nutcracker page

And why not play our Nutcracker Quiz to test your knowledge about one of our favorite ballets?!

In the list below, those with a ❆ snowflake icon ❆ we will or we have reviewed; these can be read directly below the accompanying performance information. 

Please note that not all of these online performances are necessarily “The Nutcracker” as we are familiar with as many companies have adapted their traditional annual production in order to accommodate physical distance restrictions and/or to better suit a digital experience.

Although all of the buttons below each event say “TICKETS”, some of the companies are actually offering their productions at no cost; but they often require registration, so be sure to still click through to make sure you don’t miss a show!

Nutcracker Online Performances 2020


December 4-31, 2020

American Ballet Theatre - The Nutcracker 2020


  • Clara, The Princess: Isabella Boylston
  • Nutcracker, The Prince: James Whiteside

✧ American Ballet Theatre Nutcracker Review

The Grand Pas de Deux excerpt from Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker that American Ballet Theatre traditionally performs at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in California, is a special filming sponsored by LG. It is jam-packed with challenging and quick-paced choreography, especially in the pas de deux. To note is that for the first time in Ratmansky’s staging, the female variation includes Lev Ivanov’s 1892 original choreography.

This 10-minute free performance is a gift from America’s National Ballet Company and a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.


November 25 – December 27, 2020

Atlanta Ballet - The Nutcracker 2020


December 12 & 19, 2020

Ballet Arizona - The Nutcracker Suite 2020


  • Snow Queen: Rochelle Anvik
  • Snow King: Ethan Price
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Tiffany Chatfield
  • Her Cavalier: Luis Corrales
  • Dew Drop: Rochelle Anvik

✧ Ballet Arizona Nutcracker Suite Review

This unique version of the holiday classic includes an archival party and battle narrated by company dancer Jillian Barrell. Masked snowflakes mark the beginning of a performance filmed earlier this month that then continues through to the finale. 

This entire Suite moves quickly both in overall pace and movement. Andersen’s corps scenes – snow and flowers – are particularly energetic, full of choreographic canons that are done with wonderful precision, a necessity so as to not appear a mess. They dancers are clearly well-rehearsed. 

Also to note are the strength of the male dancers. The Sugar Plum Fairy’s two pages? (there is no program credit) and the Tea and Trepak duets are all outstanding. 


December 12, 2020 – January 1, 2021

Ballet Austin - The Nutcracker 2020


December 23-26, 2020

BalletCollective - The Nutcracker at Wethersfield Streaming


December 4-27, 2020

BalletMet - A Nutcracker Holiday


  • Herr Drosselmeyer: William Newton, Austin Powers
  • Young Clara: Kaitlynn Hanna
  • Grown Up Clara: Jessica Brown, Caitlin Valentine
  • Nutcracker Prince: Michael Sayre
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Caitlin Valentine, Grace-Anne Powers
  • Cavalier: Miguel Anaya

✧ BalletMet Nutcracker Review

This abridged version of our favorite seasonal ballet titled Clara’s Nutcracker Prince is a narrated reflection of one of our young protagonists favorite holiday memories. The only section shown in full is the pas de deux of the Grand Pas but the video and audio editing are pretty seamless making for a pleasurable viewing experience. And there is enough shown of each scene so as to not feel like measly samplings. This production is a great way to introduce young ones to both the tale and the beautiful dancing that often provokes them to become interested in ballet.

As indicated in the casting above, it appears that footage is taken from multiple performances; I did not notice this while watching, so glad that it wasn’t a distraction.

✧ Extra Features

Along with Clara’s Nutcracker Prince, A Nutcracker Holiday also features other related activities for the family such as The Nutcracker Scavenger Adventure, Holiday Crafts, Favorite Seasonal Recipes, Spotify Playlists, and Coloring Pages. This makes for a full afternoon of holiday fun!


December 24 & 25, 2020 and January 1, 2021

Ballet West Review - The Nutcracker 1218

✧ Ballet West Nutcracker Review


December 18-24, 2020

Birmingham Royal Ballet - The Nutcracker at the REP


December 17-27, 2020

Boston Ballet - The Gift


  • Grand pas de deux from The Nutcracker: Viktorina Kapitonova + Tigran Mkrtchyan
  • Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite: Boston Ballet, Boston Ballet II, and Boston Ballet School Post Graduates

✧ Boston Ballet The Gift Review

For those expecting classical ballet, the first part of this program features the Grand pas de deux from Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker. The experience is unique, though: Vitorina Kapitonova and Tigran Mkrtchyan’s costumes come with coordinating masks and they dance to Alex Foaksman’s live piano playing. It is an interesting decision to not use a recorded orchestral version of Tchaikovsky’s famous notes resulting in more of a dress rehearsal vibe than that of a performance.

Segueing the classical to the contemporary is Eric Jackson, aka the “Dean of Boston Jazz Radio”, providing some history of Duke Ellington. Ellington’s “The Nutcracker Suite” serves as the music and inspiration of what is to follow.

Boston Ballet, Boston Ballet II, and Boston Ballet School Post Graduates choreograph nine short pieces for each other. Aside from the score, the threads that tie them together are a coordinated palette of grayscale and red hued costumes and the sole piece of scenery that stays suspended throughout. Paul Craig’s Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy) feels overall the strongest and Chyrstyn Fentroy’s stage presence although minimal is most memorable; but each vignette shows admirable effort in creating contemporary dance to syncopated music.


November 30 – December 25, 2020

Boston Ballet - The Nutcracker Online 2020


  • The Nutcracker Prince: Tigran Mkrtchyan
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Ji Young Chae
  • Drosselmeier: Paulo Arrais
  • Clara: Mia Steedle
  • Snow Queen & King: Seo Hye Han & Paul Craig
  • Dew Drop: Viktorina Kapitonova

✧ Boston Ballet Nutcracker Review

This made-for-tv one-hour production is introduced by Hoda Kotb and narrated by Drosselmeier. It is a very abridged version of the full-length performance, so perhaps a good introduction for the young ones, but not a fulfilling experience for those wanting to watch a lot of dance. The only (near) full scenes that are shown are the Battle, Snow, Spanish, Flowers, and the Grand Pas Deux, the highlights being Ji Young Chae and Seo Hye Han as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen, respectively. 

This offering is complimentary, though, so if you’re looking for a quick fix of this holiday favorite all that’s required is registration with an email address.


December 23-26, 2020

Charlotte Ballet - A Fairy-Tailored Nutcracker


December 17-27, 2020

Cincinnati Ballet - The Nutcracker at Home


December 4-25, 2020

Colorado Ballet - The Nutcracker 2020


  • Clara: Sarah Tryon
  • Nutcracker Prince: Francisco Estevez
  • Sugarplum Fairy: Chandra Kuykendall
  • Cavalier: Christophor Moulton


December 24, 2020 – January 23, 2021

English National Ballet - Nutcracker Delights


December 18-31, 2020

Grand Rapids Ballet - the nutcracker experience


  • Dream Clara: Julia Turner
  • Nutcracker Prince: Nathan Young
  • Dew Drop Fairy: Sarah Marley
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Yuka Oba-Muschiana
  • Cavalier: Josue Justiz

✧ Grand Rapids Ballet Nutcracker Experience Review

Although not the most glamorous of Nutcrackers, Grand Rapids Ballet’s presentation for this holiday season is a special one. The company really accentuates the significance of the arts in their local and broader communities by including coverage of the Grand Rapids Symphony. In fact, the film begins with them – masked and physically distanced – playing the overture for the narrated Party and Battle Scenes.

Between Snow and Act II, there is also behind the scenes footage at the making of this production. From the artists talking about their first dance experiences to a peek into the costume shop to a look at how footage is spliced together, we are made aware of just how much human effort is made in the creation of ballet magic. Especially interesting to learn is that only four dancers are on stage at any given time; but due to incredible compositing and editing, we are provided a seamless viewing experience.

The second act includes most of the divertissements as well as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier variations and coda (there is no grand pas de deux). The dancers’ technique is not always as refined as one would expect from a professional company, but their energetic presence consistently radiates throughout.


December 15 – January 8, 2021

Houston Ballet - Nutcracker Sweets


December 11 – January 3, 2021

New York City Ballet - The Nutcraker 2020


  • Sugarplum Fairy: Maria Kowroski
  • Her Cavalier: Tyler Angle
  • Dewdrop: Megan Fairchild


December 24, 2020 – January 15, 2021

Orlando Ballet - The Nutcracker


  • Sugarplum Fairy: Chloe Misseldin
  • Her Cavalier: Aran Bell


December 11-26, 2020

Pacific Northwest Ballet - The Nutcracker 2020 - digital


December 17-31, 2020

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre - Fireside Nutcracker


  • Drosselmeyer: Steven Annegarn
  • Marie: Diana Yohe
  • The Nephew: Joseph Parr
  • Snow King: William Moore
  • Snow Queen: Gabrielle Thurlow
  • Winter Fairy: Alexandra Kochis
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Jessica McCann
  • Cavalier: Yoshiaki Nakano
  • The Garden Fairy: Hannah Carter


December 23-27, 2020

Royal Winnipeg Ballet - The Nutcracker Suite


November 27 – December 31, 2020

San Francisco Ballet - Nutcracker Online 2020


  • Clara: Elizabeth Powell
  • Snow Queen: Yuan Yuan Tan
  • Snow King: Pierre-François Vilanoba
  • Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
  • Grand pas de deux: Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan

✧ San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker Review

Set in 1915 in San Francisco, Helgi Tomasson’s 2004 version of “The Nutcracker” features glamorous costuming and decorative nuances of that era.

The story is well-woven with details that make you think, “Oh yes! That totally makes sense!” For example, in the first act all of the mechanical dolls (the Nutcracker being one of them) appear in the beginning of Clara’s dream, giving weight to the theory that what we experience in real life enters our subconscious mind. Also, the King of the Mice’s death is not precipitated by a ballet slipper but rather… well, best to leave that surprise for your viewing! As Clara and her Nutcracker-turned-Prince journey through the Land of Snow, the Queen, King, and snowflakes they encounter are absolutely beautiful.

In the second act, the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns the Crystal Palace which is filled with dragonflies, butterflies, and ladybugs. The divertissements perform for Clara and Drosselmeyer who sit upon a dais that changes location in order to adapt to the dances. The Sugar Plum Fairy leads the flowers (so no Dewdrop Fairy) and when Clara’s dream to become a ballerina comes true, it is a more adult version of herself that dances the Grand Pas de Deux with the Prince.

Tomasson’s unique vision and choreography are what make this version of “The Nutcracker” worth seeing.

✧ Extra Features

In San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Online, you will also be treated to an introduction by Elizabeth Powell who plays Clara in the filming and is now a soloist in the company, interactive virtual reality images of the exterior and interior of the city’s War Memorial Opera House, a history of The Nutcracker (in 1944, San Francisco Ballet performed the first full version in America!) and thematic games to bring you even more joy during a time when it is so needed.


December 21-24, 2020

The Scottish Ballet - The Secret Theatre


from December 4, 2020

The National Ballet of Canada - The Nutcracker 2021 Cineplex


December 2020

The Washington Ballet - The Nutcracker Virtual Experience
Nutcracker Online Performances 2020

Featured Photo for Nutcracker Online Performances 2020: Paulo Arrais, Tigran Mkrtchyan, and Mia Steedle of Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker © Liza Voll Photography

Special thanks to

Joaquín de Luz, The Prodigal Son, Returns Home

It is said that “home is where the heart is” and for Joaquín de Luz, the prodigal son, Madrid is home. His initial term of five years as director of Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza began on September 1, 2019; this effectively means that he has thus spent half of his first year in this new role in some form of confinement be it domiciliary or regional.

But this hasn’t derailed the former New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre star. In fact, he seems poised as ever to create an identity for his country’s national dance company, one that demonstrates how a singular group of artists can be versed in so many ways.

This goal was the inspiration for the program de Luz curated for the company’s return to Teatro Real since he has taken over – “Apollo” (George Balanchine), “Concerto DSCH” (Alexei Ratmansky), and “White Darkness” (Nacho Duato). He explains how the three pieces form a stylistic coherency in which there is a progression from classical ballet to neoclassical ballet to contemporary ballet, and how the music of Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, and Jenkins, respectively, mirror this artistic diversity. 

The Prodigal Son Dances Again

De Luz believes that “Teatro Real is the best theatre in the world” and that of course, “Madrid, the best city”. And the pride that the 44 years-young director exudes extends beyond his patria mater.

His eyes fill with emotion when he comments on the hard work his dancers have invested to overcome the challenges they have faced and achieve the accomplishments they have gained; it appears that indeed he has returned home to his family.

His company, along with the rest of Spain, spent over 100 days in isolation this past spring and summer. “Keeping a dancer in their home for three months is like keeping a lion in a cage,” he expresses. Once out of the metaphorical cage, de Luz so much desired to share the significant return to ballet barres and marley floors with his dancers that he decided to further involve himself in the creative process.

On opening night, de Luz will take the stage once again alongside fellow Spaniard and New York City Ballet colleague Gonzalo García in “Concerto DSCH”. When reflecting on this decision to again dance this role which Ratmansky created for him, de Luz says with a slight chuckle, “At least I will dance it one more time. Maybe I’ll regret it later. It’s quite physical”.

Reinventing Giselle

On the heels of this dynamic repertory program is the world premiere of de Luz’s “Giselle”. “What would it be like if [Gustavo Adolfo] Bécquer wrote ‘Giselle’?”, the self-proclaimed romantic asked himself when looking for inspirational guidance. De Luz is pulling this classical ballet from its traditional medieval setting and placing it into the Spanish Romantic period. He feels that Bécquer may be somewhat of a forgotten poet despite being author to some of Spain’s most beautiful writing.

I had the opportunity to speak with de Luz in more detail regarding his vision about:

– restructuring of the plot: “It always bothered me, things about the beginning [of ‘Giselle’]…and the end”;

– rearranging Adolphe Adam’s score: “We’re not adding any new music, we’re doing things to the music…at times”;

– and voiceovers: “We’re gonna hear Bécquer/Albrecht’s voice with Bécquer’s verses. And we’re gonna hear the voice of Giselle at the end. It’s done really well and respectively”.

Suffice to say, nobody could see the wheels turning in my head nor the excitement in my heart nor the open mouth hidden behind my mask.

El curador de jamón

De Luz doesn’t see himself as a choreographer in the way a dictionary would define one to be. In fact, he says mischievously that he’s more like Diaghilev – “un curador de jamon” (“curador” really means “one who cures meat”, but with no Spanish word for “curator” it’s the closest false linguistic friend it has). He likes to imagine and invent things, to add ingredients, and he is very much enjoying this facet of dance. He says there’s so many things in his head so… “Why not”?

Compañía Nacional de Danza’s repertory program will be presented from November 19-21 at Teatro Real and Giselle will run from December 9-22 at Teatro de la Zarzuela

No performances found!

Nutcracker Online Performances 2020


Featured Photo of Joaquín de Luz, The Prodigal Son, at Teatro Real © La Compañía Nacional de Danza

Ballerina with Alzheimer’s: The Untold Story of Marta Cinta

Editor’s note: I read an article in El Español earlier today and felt that this story needs to be told in English; the result is this feature “Ballerina with Alzheimer’s: The Untold Story of Marta Cinta”. The original article was written by Jaime Susanna and I admire and praise the investigative journalism done in regards to this story. After a video by the organization Música Para Despertar went viral this week, many questions were raised about who the ballerina with Alzheimer’s really is. I hope that I have done Susanna’s work justice in my translation.

She lived in Cuba, danced in New York, taught in Madrid, and triumphed after her dying in a nursing home in Alcoy, where she dreamed of doing a ballet with the elderly.

In Cuba she was called Rosamunda; in Madrid and New York, Marta Cinta; but on her Spanish identification card it appeared as Marta González Saldaña. Surely none of these names tell you anything, but if we speak of the elderly woman who passionately dances “Swan Lake” from her wheelchair, maybe she will sound familiar. The video of this woman that became viral this week and has quickly made its way through social networks and other media, has incited passion for the tenderness of its image.

Behind this small fragment of video there is a movie-like life: a relocation to Fulgencio Batista’s Cuba, the arrival to the top of the New York dance world, a ballet school in Madrid, and a funny story of love in old age. All this with a muddle of dates that would make even Sherlock Holmes scratch his head.

Spanish media El Español has investigated the life of Marta González in order to discover what is behind this woman who, just like Princess Odette  – Queen of the Swans in Tchaikovsky’s libretto –  transforms with the melody and begins to move her arms in wing-like movement while submerged in a trance that brings her back to her glory days. As if the spirit were much younger than the body that encompasses it, Marta flies away like in times gone by, much before her time in a wheelchair, when she received applause in theaters around the world, when the press surrendered to her talent, or when she left her young students with gaping mouths wide open with her “majestic” presence.

Video of Ballerina with Alzheimer's (Música para Despertar)

Marta was born in Madrid in the mid-1920s. Her exact birthdate is a mystery since she never said her age and is personally responsible for falsifying it. “In her [Spanish] National Identity Card the date is falsified. You would ask her and she would say she was 40 years-old. Instead of adding years, she was going backwards (laughter)”, explains Inmaculada Vilar, the director of the nursing home Muro de Alcoy where Marta spent the last few years of her life. “We calculated that she was born around 1924. But her National Identity Card says she was born in ’49, and that now she would be around 70 years-old. That is impossible”.

What she did say was where she was born: Madrid. Although, again, her ID says another thing and places her entrance into the world  about 7,400 kilometers [approximately 4,600 miles] from the Spanish capital, specifically, in Havana, Cuba. Even so, all of her life she spoke with a Cuban accent.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - Marta, in an old portrait
Marta, in an old portrait.

It is known through her own stories that she told while in the nursing home that when she was quite young her family relocated to the Caribbean island. Her father, Nicolás González, was an engineer and was contracted to build railroad tracks there. Her stay in Cuba is documented by an ID card issued by the General Directorate of Sports which falls under the Ministry of Education in Cuba.

This ID card accredits Marta’s name with being a ballet teacher on the island. It is dated May 3, 1968, which is to say, after the Cuban Revolution. But if you pay careful attention to the image, you can see that there is a sticker placed on top of the year. It is possible to think that Marta altered that date for reasons that she brought with her to the grave.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - ID that accredits Mara as a ballet teacher in Cuba
ID that accredits Mara as a ballet teacher in Cuba.

This is not the only misleading paper in terms of dates. In her personal archive consists various diplomas that place her in New York from 1966 to 1978. Here comes the mess. According to a diploma from the Escuela Superior Nicolay Yavorsky of New York that accredits Marta as a prima ballerina (title of excellence in the ballet world), in 1966 she was 19 years-old. That is closer to the age that her National Identification Card states.

But that same institution documents that on June 3, 1978, she was 25 years-old. And a third diploma dated three years later says she is 23… Seeing this, one cannot stop imagining Marta laughing to herself at the poor, unfortunate person who tries to figure out her real age.

Another document that places her in Cuba, supposedly when she was 18 years-old, is a clipping from the magazine Bohemia, the oldest newspaper in Latin America, unfortunately fallen from grace after the communist revolution, explained the journalist Yoani Sánchez in the pages of Huffington Post.

One can read: “Rosamunda, virtuoso of classical dance, who has just received great success in the United States, is an outstanding figure in the world of ballet, a featured choreographer, despite her young age (18 years-old) has staged ten works of her own choreography and librettos, most notable, “tardes vienesas”, “los Gatos del Tío Tom”, “Los Mendigos”, “Presagio”, etc. and “La última Danza”, a ballet which is under contract to be acquired by a European company who will immediately incorporate it into their repertory”.

“White, almost transparent”

As if the story weren’t already a bit messy, here comes another twist. One of her former students assures that at the beginning of the 1970s she was teaching classes in Madrid. “I believe I was with her in ’71”,  assures this woman, who prefers not to reveal her identity and that talks to [El Español] from France where she currently lives.

She was living in Madrid, in the Estrella neighborhood [Retiro district]. She had a dance studio in her house”, explains this source. “When I was a little girl I also knew her mother [Julia Saldaña, according to Marta’s National Identification Card]. The mother was short with slanted eyes. Marta was a large woman for her generation and thus was impressive for her comportment. She was white, almost transparent. Never in my life had I met a woman more white. And alway with a majestic attitude”.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - Portraits of a young Marta González taken from her personal archive
Portraits of a young Marta González taken from her personal archive.

According to this woman’s story, Marta taught classes both in her house and in the school Reinado Corazón de Jesús, still open on Walia Street in Madrid. Until now, the center has not commented on this matter. “She prepared end of the year festivals and was very involved in this school”. Asked about Marta’s age back then, they calculate that she could have been around 40 years-old, but it is difficult to know “because ballerinas don’t typically have marks on their faces”.

When the former student saw the viral video that provoked this investigation, she didn’t doubt it: “I recognized her immediately. I said ‘but if it is her, it is Marta…’. Her arms and hands are the same. That elegance, you know? When I was young she seemed ethereal. When she walked, when she moved. Also she was a woman with a very strong character.  She was not hard, she was demanding, which is not the same”. 

“I believe that she had a very human side. Looking at the past with adult eyes I think that maybe there was something in her life that was painful and that makes you have a protective attitude or caution with respect to others. I was a young girl, so for me she was like a fairy… an impossible… a dream, she represented a dream“. 

The woman on the other end of the telephone explains what could well be the plot of the film “Black Swan”: “The people who dedicate themselves to classical dance are those with a lot of character and sometimes difficult to understand. You don’t have a body for dance, you can have conditions. You have a flexibility, an elegance, a body, an ear, etc. But a body like yours or whoever’s is not created to dance. You have to change it, most of all for classical dance. This makes it so that from a very young age you have to get used to physical pain, an ironclad discipline, a huge competitiveness, and no mercy… all of this can accentuate a certain character”.

Apartment B, First Floor

Aside from the school in Estrella and her collaboration with the other aforementioned school, it is known that Marta had another school on Alfonso XII Street, 66 in Madrid. This is accredited to a brochure taken from her personal archives. “Ballet teatro escuela Cinta de Madrid  – the brochure says – the most modern center for training and personal improvement”.

The most veteran neighbors of this building – where everything creaks – don’t remember there having been a dance school in Apartment B on the 1st Floor. The property appears to not have hosted any activity in years. On the door, open for the last time who knows when, there is only a sticker for a security alarm company.  

A small window in the upper part of the frame allows one to see the interior of the room. The apartment is totally empty and the walls naked. However, the parquet floor and the generous space does in fact indicate that here there could have been a dance school.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - Interior of the apartment where Marta had a school. JS
Interior of the apartment where Marta had a school. JS

Marta’s trail disappeared for decades until the first witnesses located her in Alicante living with her husband – or perhaps boyfriend, it’s not known if there was a wedding – Raúl Fernández Suárez, a medical surgeon. “Her husband was ill, she was dependent. No one cared for them. Raúl already knew that he was dying and wanted to find a center for her. There was space in Muro de Alcoy”, explains Inmaculada Vilar, the director. In those days, Marta was already sat in a wheelchair. “In that moment the directors were Hermanas Franciscanas de la Inmaculada. Marta loved Sister Maria Luisa, the former director, very much”.

Her final years

In September 2014 the former ballerina entered the nursing home that had been her home until her death. To be there, she paid about 60 euros per day. “She was very confused, a significant cognitive impairment. We don’t know exactly if it’s Alzheimer’s. When the confusion set in she didn’t recognize us, she got dizzy, and she became nervous. One time she imagined she was in an academy. She had hallucinations from the disease. Later she had moments when she was more lucid”, explains Inmaculada, in charge of the nursing home since 2015.

“She was very confused. She didn’t have fluid conversations like you and I. She could perfectly not know if she was in Muro, in Alicante, in another place”.  There, already widowed, she had an unrequited love: “She was so in love with a man in the home (laughter). She was very coquettish”. The subject in question was “a very temperate man, very handsome. But he didn’t respond to her, he only went along with the joke”.

“One time, about three years ago, Marta was about to die and they called us from the hospital so that we could notify her relatives. Of course, we told them that she had no family, that there was only us. So I told the man: ‘Luis, could you go and say goodbye’. He got on the bus and went. He said to her: ‘Come on, Marta. If you get well we’ll get out of here’. Well he promised her everything”, remembers Inmaculada with a smile.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - Marta during her stay at Muro de Alcoy
Marta during her stay at Muro de Alcoy.

To everyone’s surprise, Marta would live three more years. The nursing home personnel, her de facto family, joked: “Of course, Luis, it’s that you promised her all this and heaven, too”. Who knows if this promise is what gave her strength to endure. “She will have thought: ‘Well, with what he has promised I’m not going!’. Now you have to follow through, Luis”.

On one occasion, she made her own audition within the nursing home. “She created this story that she was going to build a school there inside. So she was doing the casting and selecting the girls: ‘that one no, she’s very fat’, ‘that one, yes is worth it’, ‘let’s see, lift up your leg’… And like that, she did the casting. We started laughing. It was very funny”.

In June 2019 she received the visit from Música Para Despertar [Wake Up Music], the authors of the viral video that shows the evocative power and the therapeutic power of music, a subject often criticized in educational plans. “It is scientifically proven to be one of the last capabilities that can be lost”, explains Pepe Olmedo, director of Música Para Despertar and in charge of broadcasting the famous video. 

Marta died in March of this year, probably oblivious of the storm that was falling around the walls of her nursing home and with memories of a movie-like life. The video that has made her a known figure has made headlines in half of the world and has even inspired spontaneous tributes from other artists.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's - Tributes by artists Jorge Restrepo (left) and Marina Puche
Tributes by artists Jorge Restrepo (left) and Marina Puche.
Nutcracker Online Performances 2020

Ballerina with Alzheimer’s: The Untold Story of Marta Cinta is a translation of Jaime Susanna’s original article: El Español – “La historia no contada de Marta Cinta, la bailarina con alzheimer tras el vídeo viral: su vida de película” Images also from El Español.

Gene Kelly, the Ballet Choreographer

Yes, you read the title correctly: Gene Kelly, the Ballet Choreographer. 


It’s true. The man who sings in the rain and is an American in Paris also has a ballet under his choreographic belt. His musical theater roots are clear in his “Pas de Dieux” (a word play on the classical ballet term pas de deux which is a dance for two people and translates to “No Gods”) which was created for the Paris Opera in 1960 on the étoile Claude Bessy. The piece definitely tends toward Broadway, following the jazzy three movements of George Gershwin’s Concerto in F and harking Jerome Robbins alongside Kelly’s own stylistic tendencies.  


Being a francophile who spoke fluent French, the first commission for an original work by an American at France’s predominant arts institution was the perfect fit for Kelly. But I’m not sure the same can be said for the legend’s place in the ballet canon. Although it must be noted that at the time he was widely recognized for his work so much so that he received the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French Government.


The plot of “Pas de Dieux” encourages the use of imagination as the ballet opens with Aphrodite and Eros – a puckish character of sorts – plotting to take a trip from the skies to the earth. They descend from the rainbow painted heavens to a terrestrial beach where they, respectively, successfully seduce a lifeguard and his fiancée. There is a lot of frolicking with other sun-loving humans followed by an angry Zeus viewing from his perch above the two new couples in their beds. He rids three of them with his godly ways leaving only his wife whom he ultimately follows into a bar. If you can get past the absurdity and cheekiness of it all, the second part is totally worth it.


The highlight of this scene (and the ballet) is Éric Vu-An, the Artistic Director of Ballet Nice Méditerranée, the performing company. He plays a convincing gangster ripe with seediness and shows us just how jazz dancing should be done. I actually find myself disappointed when his character is choreographed off the stage. Aphrodite and Zeus’s reconciliation pas de deux is ubiquitous at best, but hey – expectations aren’t particularly high at this point.


The third movement is a typical, entertaining finale back at the beach and ends with the three gods being lifted back to their home.

Ballet Nice Méditerranée: Gene Kelly's Pas de Dieux

Gene Kelly’s “Pas de Dieux” is currently in the repertoire of Ballet Nice Méditerranée and its 2016 recording can be viewed online on Marquee TV. It merits viewing if only for its historical significance.

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Featured Photo of Ballet Nice Mediterranee in Gene Kelly’s Pas de Dieux (No Gods) © Ballet Nice Mediterranee 

Special thanks to

World Ballet Day 2020

ABTKids 2020: B Is for Ballet

Unfortunately, we can’t take our families to the Metropolitan Opera House or Koch Theater this fall to enjoy American Ballet Theatre live on the stage. But thanks to the company’s ABTKids 2020 series, kids (and adults!) will not be deprived of getting their ballet fix.

On October 24 @ 11:00am EST, fans around the world can watch the world premiere virtual performance inspired by John Robert Allman’s recently published book B Is for Ballet: A Dance Alphabet on YouTube. Narrated by Jennifer Garner – actor, entrepreneur, early childhood activist, and publically-acknowledged ballet fan – ABTKids 2020:  B is for Ballet is a lighthearted, educational video that presents the beauty of ballet in an alphabetic sequence.

Viewers will also get to see archival footage of ABT performances along with material choreographed specifically for this 30-minute production. ABT dancers featured are Hernan Cornejo, Courtney Lavine, Lauren Post, Corey Stearns, and Devon Teuscher, complemented by students from the company’s feeder Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. 

ABTKids 2020: B is for Ballet


For those in the New York Metropolitan Area, this project will be distributed to ABT partners and complemented by ballet-themed activities, games, and educational opportunities curated by ABT’s Education staff and Teaching Artists. These organizations include:

– Children’s Museum of Manhattan

– Keen NYC

– The Fresh Air Fund

– Harlem School of the Arts

– Lincoln Center’s Passport to the Arts

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

– Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hopsital

– New York City Department of Education Public Schools


And if you cannot tune in the moment ABTKids starts to stream, don’t worry; B Is for Ballet will have a permanent home on ABT’s YouTube channel. 


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World

Updated at 21:20pm CET on April 10, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not discriminatory and it was just a matter of time that those of us in the ballet industry would be affected. From a friend’s message letting me know that her school in Italy is closed, to social media images of professional dancers taking class in masks, to announcements of the cancellation and/or postponement of performances and tours, to learning about regulations regarding seating arrangements in theaters; the past few days have brought with them news about how this pandemic has indeed entered our balletic spaces.


It is unrealistic for me to be able to know of every single ballet organization decision that has been influenced by the coronavirus, but I endeavor to keep this page updated on a regular basis. Thus I am reaching out to you, the intimate and passionate ballet community, to fill out the form below should you have information that can be added to this article.


May scientific research, governmental leadership, and social responsibility guide us through this challenging period of time when we must – more than ever – put humanitarian wellbeing above other divisive ideologies.

Africa       Asia      Europe       North America       Oceania       South America



Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)

Malaysia (Penang)

Singapore (Penang)

United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)


Denmark (Copenhagen)

Austria (Vienna)

England (Bromley)

England (High Wycombe)

England (London)

England (Plymouth)

France (Paris)

Germany (Hamburg)

  • Hamburg Ballet
    • Cancelled all performances at the Hamburg State Opera (March 13 – April 30, 2020)

Italy (Milan)

  • La Scala Ballet
    • Cancelled all performances at the Teatro alla Scala (March 13 – April 3, 2020)

Netherlands (Amsterdam)

  • Dutch National Ballet
    • Cancelled all performances at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet (March 26 – June 1, 2020)

Spain (Barcelona)

Spain (Valencia)


Arizona (Avondale)

  • Ballet Arizona
    • Cancelled Dancing Across the Valley (March 21, 2020)
    • Cancelled All Balanchine (May 7-10)
    • Cancelled The Four Seasons (May 19 – June 6)

California (San Francisco)

  • San Francisco Ballet
    • Cancelled A Midsummer Night’s Dream (March 6-12, 2020)
    • Cancelled Ballet Accelerator (March 24 – April 4, 2020)
    • Cancelled Present Perspectives (March 26 – April 5, 2020)
    • Cancelled Jewels (April 15-21, 2020)
    • Cancelled Romeo & Juliet (May 1-7, 2020)

Canada (Calgary)

Canada (Edmonton)

Canada (Montreal)

Canada (Ottawa)

Canada (Toronto)

Colorado (Denver)

Florida (Fort Lauderdale)

Florida (Miami)

Florida (Orlando)

  • Orlando Ballet
    • Postponed Made in the USA (March 27-29, 2020)
    • Cancelled Mowgli – The Jungle Book (May 8-10, 2020)

Florida (Sarasota)

  • Sarasota Ballet
    • Cancelled Romeo & Juliet (March 27-28, 2020)
    • Cancelled Beyond Words (April 24-25, 2020)

Florida (West Palm Beach)

Illinois (Chicago)

Massachusetts (Becket)

Massachusetts (Boston)

  • Boston Ballet
    • Rescheduled Carmen (March 12-22, 2020) to August 20–30, 2020
    • Cancelled Swan Lake (May 1-31, 2020)
    • Cancelled Off the Charts (May 8-29, 2020)

Michigan (Detroit)

Nebraska (Lincoln)

New York (New York City)

North Carolina (Charlotte)

North Carolina (Durham)

North Carolina (Raleigh)

  • Carolina Ballet
    • Cancelled A Celebration of Female Choreographers (March 5-22, 2020)
    • Postponed Macbeth (April 16-19, 2020) until 2020-2021 season
    • Postponed Cinderella (May 14-17, 2020) until 2020-2021 season

Ohio (Cincinnatti)

  • Cincinnatti Ballet
    • Rescheduled Director’s Cut (March 19-21, 2020) to April 30 – May 2, 2020
    • Cancelled Snow White (March 28 – April 5, 2020)

Ohio (Columbus)

  • BalletMet
    • Cancelled CARMEN.maquia (April 3-11, 2020)

Oklahoma (Tulsa)

  • Tulsa Ballet
    • Rescheduled Vendetta, A Mafia Story (March 26-29, 2020) to October 29 – November 1, 2020
    • Postponed Peter and the Wolf (April 3, 2020)

Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

  • Pennsylvania Ballet
    • Cancelled La Bayadère (March 12-15, 2020)
    • Rescheduled Suspended in Time (April 2-5, 2020) to January 29 – February 7, 2021
    • Rescheduled some of Breathtaking Balanchine (May 7-10, 2020) to March 11-14, 2021

Pennsylvania (University Park)

South Carolina (Greenville)

South Dakota (Sioux Falls)

Texas (Houston)

  • Houston Ballet
    • Cancelled Forged in Houston (March 12-22, 2020) 
    • Cancelled From Houston to the World (May 21-31, 2020)
    • Cancelled Romeo & Juliet (une 4-14, 2020)

Utah (Salt Lake City)

  • Ballet West
    • Cancelled Choreographic Festival (May 14-16, 2020) 
    • Rescheduled Bolero & The Dream (April 17-25, 2020) to June 12-20, 2020

Virginia (Norfolk)

Washington (Seattle)

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet
    • Cancelled ONE THOUSAND PIECES (March 13 – 22, 2020)
    • Cancelled Beauty and the Beast (March 15 – 22, 2020)
    • Cancelled Giselle (April 10-19, 2020)

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.


Australia (Melbourne)

Australia (Sydney)


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Featured Image Source: Reuters

Dance Bag Essentials

Whether you’re an aspiring ballet dancer or already a professional one, your dance bag is something that you can’t leave home without. Aside from the several pairs of ballet shoes and pointe shoes that you lug around every day, your dance bag is most likely also filled with items you need on a daily basis as well as those you will be happy to have in the case of a studio or theater emergency. Of course, your dance bag is a very personal space already filled with your favorite snacks, personal care, and beauty products, so we’ve compiled a non exhaustive list of ballet accessories and essentials you may want to consider including.


Despite living in the height of the technological era, many (including yours truly) are still believers that good old pen and paper still have a place in our lives. When it comes to jotting down notes after class, rehearsal, or performance, having a pocket size notebook is really handy. You don’t need to power it on and you won’t be distracted by the slew of notifications that you received while perfecting your pirouettes.

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Resistance Bands

TheraBands – the brand name that has become synonymous with this exercise tool – has been a ballet dancer, physical therapist, and athlete favorite for years. As the generic name implies, these non-latex bands use your own body to provide resistance in order to build strength and flexibility. They are color-coded to indicate the progressive amount of resistance of each band; there’s a beginner set and advanced set of Therabands. The fact that they’re also lightweight and affordable make them a must-have companion in your dance bag.

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Foam Roller

Another useful piece of equipment to bring with you is a foam roller. Available in a compact 13″, a roller will provide relief in working out sore muscles and knots. This one in particular has a varying grid pattern with each element serving a different purpose ranging from trigger point targeting, finger-like massage, and soothing.

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Water Bottle

Whether for drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated or sipping coffee to stay awake, a collapsible bottle makes transportation a cinch. This one in particular can hold up to 18 oz / 550 ml of cold or hot liquid, is BPA free and leak-proof, and available in an array of neutral to vibrant colors. It’s really convenient that the bottle can be compressed so compact for storage. 

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Blister Bandages

There are bandages and then there are BANDAGES. These waterproof Band-Aids will be lifesavers whether you’re just starting to feel a hotspot or if your skin is already broken. Put one of these on (specific shapes are available for toes and heels) and your pain will be relieved and your blister healed before you know it. They last for days before you need to take them off or they come off on their own, whichever comes first.

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Dental Floss

As odd as this may seem, having floss in your dance bag will actually serve you in a couple of different ways. One is the more obvious – you’ve eaten lunch or had a snack and a bit of oral hygiene may be necessary before you head back into the studio. The other reason is to use as thread for sewing your pointe shoes; it’s quite strong so only a few stitches are needed. This is especially useful for when you need to do a quick sewing job. My preference is an unscented unwaxed kind. Naturally, you will also need needles – this pack of assorted size sewing needles should do the trick.

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It should probably go without saying that every ballet dancer should have an extra pair of tights with them at all times. The transition, a.k.a. convertible, style gives you the option of wearing footed tights or rolling them up for a footless version. Companies such as Capezio (as pictured) offer dancers a wide range of colors to match skin tones and costuming needs.

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Hair Supplies

This is another item that seems should go without mention, but after spending decades in the ballet industry, it never ceases to amaze me when a dancer asks, “Does anyone have any extra bobby pins?” Do yourself and your colleagues a favor – always carry hair supplies with you. A handful of bobby pins and hair pins will suffice; because even if you’ve left your ponytail holder at home (for shame!), you can still pull your hair up into a french twist.

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Retirement from Ballet

Not long after hanging up my pointe shoes and cutting my hair to a chin-length bob, a friend asked me what it felt like having retired from ballet. Taking a few seconds to gather my thoughts, I responded, “It’s liberating. It’s liberating to not be defined by my job. I am no longer the ‘friend who does ballet’ or ‘my daughter the ballet dancer’. I’m just me. And it’s been a long time since that’s been the case”.


Considering retirement from ballet is a multi-phase, non-linear process. There are the fleeting thoughts of quitting because the body suffers just a little bit more every day from the physical demands of the job. There are moments of wondering what more the world has to offer outside of the ballet studio. There are moments of wondering what more do I have to offer the world. There are doubts about whether working to receiving applause from the audience and affirmations from peers are simply selfish ego-building desires. And this process often takes months, if not years.

Retirement from ballet is a change in lifestyle.

Personally, I had to two benchmarks I set for myself: dancing Juliet in Romeo & Juliet and being a professional for at least as many years as I had invested as a student – nine. I also declared that I did not want to retire due to injury. So perhaps my subconscious knew that my self-inflicted expiration date was coming up, but sure enough after my ninth season as a professional dancer, that aforementioned process of considering retirement started. I recall a gentle nudging that slowly but surely crescendoed to my final question: Am I no longer passionate about being a ballet dancer or is it that I am no longer happy dancing here*? I ultimately decided that it was most likely the latter that was a catalyst to the former, and this resulted in me taking my last bow just a few months later.


I spent the next five years as far away as possible from the ballet studio diving into the architecture industry; first attending community college in order to get certified in computer aided design (CAD) technologies and then making my way up the proverbial ladder to becoming a project manager. Then one day my dear friend Pablo – who had asked me throughout the years if I has ever thought about teaching – proposed that I sub a few classes for a colleague of his. For the first time since leaving the stage, I was intrigued and interested in the prospect of setting foot back in a dance studio. So I accepted. As I pursued my degree in Spanish Language & Literature (language is another passion of mine) and Business Administration, my subbing turned into a one-hour weekly pointe class which turned into two one-hour weekly pointe classes which turned into taking over one evening of the school director’s classes. As they say, the rest is history.**


So here I am now, the Editor-in-Chief of a website I created to share content that is solely about ballet. Perhaps there is no such thing as retirement from ballet but rather better expressed as “retirement from the stage”. Because as ballet dancers we have a special spark inside of us that exists because we were born ambassadors of the art; therefore we hold a responsibility to make sure it never dies. So although there may be a period of hiatus when that spark is dim, it is just a matter of time before it is ignited again. 

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*here = Carolina Ballet, where I was struggling with issues related to my body.

**see bio below

Featured image: Dancers Bending Down by Edgar Degas

Substance Abuse by Ballet Dancers

On July 24, 2014, I ended my ten-year career with Carolina Ballet, where I reached the rank as a soloist. The director of the company listened to me ramble on about how “this (ballet) wasn’t for me” and finally said, “If you need to get help and come back, do so.”


Growing up, I viewed an addict as the beggars, vagabonds, the outcasts that no one wanted to deal with. People who I ignored while walking on a street. I never saw an addict as the famous dancers, actors or athletes I idolized, and I never thought in my wildest dreams I would consider myself one. I have quickly learned that I am one “yet” away from a tragedy.


At 18, I was hired to dance for Carolina Ballet. Extremely optimistic and eager to learn and yet full of fear, I didn’t know what it truly meant to be a professional dancer. Although I was full of fear, I was a hard worker and in the middle of my first year, I was promoted from an apprentice to the corps de ballet. Even though my hard work was being recognized from the Artistic Staff, I was desperately trying to gain the approval of my peers. At the beginning of my career, I was faced with negative comments such as, “You’re dancing like a woman. Why don’t you try doing that step a little more masculine?” Feeling less than in the dance studio, I found that the way I gained the approval of my colleagues was through social drinking.


I had never tried any substances of any type before my professional career. Growing up in a Preacher’s home, we didn’t drink. I also come from a home that was broken because of addiction, so I guess it was never on my radar. Free from my family’s rules, I found myself at a company party and willing to fit in – by any means necessary. That’s where I had my very first taste of alcohol, my very first taste of social acceptability, enjoying my company. From that moment, I continued to chase that same feeling. That led me to experimentation of other drugs; none of those drugs led me to the sensation of freedom that cocaine did. Each year I was in the company, I started to dance more, more principal roles and promotions started to come my way, as well as the desire to be known. My focus began to shift from becoming the best artist I could be to how popular I could be. Pretty soon, I stopped hanging out with company dancers and became a frequent staple in the city’s social scene. I found myself dancing on stage eager to go out, several times texting my dealer(s) during performances for me to get my next fix. As the years went on, I was not getting rest or eating well, and my body started to decline. Things were rapidly spiraling out of control and then injuries started to come.


Each time I was injured, I used drugs to cope with the pain. I mainly used drugs to cope with my depression, anxiety, and fear. In all honesty, I had no fear of losing my roles, status in the company or even employment. My fear was that I would lose my social life. At this time, the director of the Carolina Ballet and some of my colleagues expressed their concerns. I was defensive even though I was at a point of no return. I knew I was a slave to the drugs. I didn’t know how to stop using, I was scared to stop using. In 2014, I was a full-blown addict, my reputation was hanging on by a thread, as was my body. At this point in my life, my love for the drug overpowered my love for ballet. I left.

Substance abuse is not so uncommon in the ballet world.

Leaving this ballet company, I was full of guilt and shame. To make myself feel better about my decision, it became my mission to prove to everyone that the company was the problem and that I could have a fulfilling life away from ballet and use successfully. The truth is, once I left the ballet, I realized that the only skills I acquired from my career were dancing and socializing, and because of this my resentment of the company grew bigger, and my depression, anxiety, and fear went through the roof. Shortly after I left the ballet, I moved to the Dallas area to be closer to my family, to get back to the values that I once knew as a child. Even in Texas and creating a new life, I found myself in the same cycle that I was in right before I left the ballet. Two years after I left Carolina Ballet, I found myself in a rehabilitation center.


In rehab, isolated from my drugs of choice, I finally started to see clearly. I started to realize that my obsession with being liked almost took my life. I started to see my part played (in all situations); I started to see that the problem of my past wasn’t the ballet, it wasn’t my old colleagues, it wasn’t my director, it was me. After coming to this realization, a new-found peace began to take over my life. I began to focus on my sobriety, and I watched my life change for the better. A year after I left the treatment center, I found myself again in a ballet class. It was a freedom I have ever felt before. That first ballet class led me back to the stage.


In early December 2018, I retired (for good) from my ballet career. I had spent a year dancing again professionally and I am so grateful I got to experience my final year sober. This past year, I experienced the same fears that I had at the beginning of my career, but this time around I could see my fears for what they were – irrational. I started to enjoy each step and connect with my partners on a deeper level. I never knew that this could be possible.


At this very moment, I am a little over two and a half years clean and sober. I am still working on becoming a better me. In all honesty, there are still days that I want to give up and then I remember the pain and misery I went through during my days in active addiction and that has been my motivation to keep fighting the good fight. If I could tell twenty-two-year-old Eugene anything, I would remind him that he is special, different, and has so much to share; to remember to speak up, to share your truth because your pain could help someone else and free yourself in the process, and to not be too proud to ask for help.


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