Rita Kohn

A new generation of children is drawn into the magical kingdom every December by parents and grandparents who recall their own wonderment and continue the cycle. This year, four different companies are staging their versionsor The Nutcracker Dec. 1-4. All promise dazzling scenery and costumes and dancing that brings Tchaikovsky's score to the secret places of our hearts and imaginations.

Butler Ballet

Clowes Memorial Hall,

4600 Sunset Ave.

Dec. 1 and 4, 7:30 p.m.;

Dec. 2 and 3, 8 p.m.;

Dec. 3 and 4, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12-$26.50.

Clowes box office: 317-940-6444.

This 24th annual production introduces the Butler Ballet Orchestra and 14-year-old Jordan Knecht in the lead role of Clara. Knecht first appeared as a tiny mouse and a tumbler in Butler Ballet's 1998 production. Featured again is the Indianapolis Children's Choir. The cast includes 87 Butler Dance Department students and 13 young dancers from Indianapolis and surrounding communities.

Central Indiana Dance Ensemble

Zionsville Performing Arts Center, 1000 Mulberry St., between Zionsville Freshman Center and High School

Dec. 2 and 3, 7:30 p.m.;

Dec. 3 and 4, 2 p.m.;

Dec. 3, 12:30 p.m.,

"Sugar Plum Fairy Tea," $10

Tickets: $15-$18 at the door,

call 317-844-7453 or visit

This sixth annual student production with 100 dancers features new sets by Karl Kaufman. Returning as guest artists are Peter Strand as the Cavalier and Edward Moffat as Dr. Drosselmeyer. Rachel Secrest and Megan Hustel portray Clara. Music is recorded.

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre

Pike Performing Arts Center,

6701 Zionsville Road

Dec. 2 and 3, 7:30 p.m.;

Dec. 3 and 4, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10-$20 at the door, PPAC box office 317-216-5455, online

A student production affiliated with a professional dance company, this is an alternative Nutcracker with Klara as a homeless child and recorded music including Tchaikovsky and other scores. Klara will be danced by Sarah Hurdle and Emily Schultz, both from Hamilton Southeastern. The Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by Natalie Taylor, Greensburg High School, and Kelsey Breece, Ben Davis High School. The Biker Prince is danced by Chris Lingner from University High School.

Ballet Internationale Nutcracker tickets will be honored for free admission to GHDT's Nutcracker. All other BI season tickets will be honored for admission to any other GHDT performance.


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