The Next Generation of Nutcracker Dancers

Starting on Saturday, Dec. 9, The Nutmeg Conservatory, a professional-training ballet school for young dancers in Torrington, Conn., will begin its holiday season run of “The Nutcracker.” The ballet school has performed Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece of Christmas Eve magic since 1970, originally as a one-act production, but for decades now as a fully costumed, set-decorated rendition of the classic ballet first composed in Russia in 1892. Adapted from  E. T. A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” Nutmeg’s production features original choreography from Artistic Director and Executive Officer Victoria Mazzarelli and the rest of the ballet faculty. 

Casting for the grand-scale dance performance demands the discerning expertise of the faculty, as they meticulously align students with roles that accentuate their skill levels, allowing their talents to shine brightly on stage. “Some students really come alive during the performance; that’s where they shine,” said Mazzarelli. “Others are a little more timid; they might be stronger in the studio and need to develop their performance skills, but some of them are just, you know, once they get on stage, it’s like magic happens and — boom.”

Students performing on stage at The Warner Theatre in Torrington are as young as eight, but that may only be the beginning of their Nutmeg dance careers. “One young lady performing The Sugar Plum Fairy has been with us since she was three. She played an angel. I think she was Little Mary — that’s the littlest party guest. She was a soldier. She was in the Spanish Corps, Marzipan Corps; she’s done every role. She’s played a mouse, and now she will be Sugar Plum. It’s amazing to see. She’s very petite, and her partner is just lovely. He’s been with us for two years, and the two of them look great together.”

“The Nutcracker” runs from Dec. 9 to Dec. 17. For tickets, go to or

Photo of The Nutmeg Conservatory by Rem Dinio

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