The Nutcracker

It is hard to describe what it means to be part of Garden City Ballet, and like anything else, it depends on your perspective.

The full Nutcracker season is a gigantic commitment for everyone, not just the dancers. Auditions take place in early September, rehearsals begin immediately and run twelve weekends straight, “tech week” in the theater is demanding, and then we hold six back-to-back performances in December. Expectations for attendance and conduct are set high. Every family is “forced” to volunteer — we simply could not pull off the show without all hands on deck. In truth, the intensity of being in a professional production (like ours!) is not for everyone.

On the flip side, many families return year after year — the memories, friendships, and community make the effort worthwhile! Dancers receive outstanding instruction and learn timeless choreography from one of the most famous classical ballets. Children of all ages have the privilege of wearing exquisite, handmade costumes designed specifically for our production. Amateur dancers of all skill levels have a rare opportunity to be on stage performing to sold-out audiences — even our youngest know where to stand in the wings and when to make their entrance. Professional guest artists engage with and inspire the entire cast. Each of us benefits from being part of something larger than ourselves, and we delight in sharing this magic with others.

We warmly invite new and returning dancers, families, audience members and donors to join with us on the journey. Please reach out with any questions as you peruse our website and learn more about who we are and what we do.

GCB typically offers one special school show and five public performances in December. The weekend of our shows is determined by the academic calendar of the University of Montana, and usually is the second or third weekend of the month.

All performances take place in the Montana Theatre (which is inside of the PARTV building, across from the Adams Center at the end of 6th Ave), on the University of Montana campus in Missoula. With 535 seats, no center aisle, and plenty of space between rows, this venue provides a comfortable and intimate experience for all audience members.
Flowers - Merchandise - Concessions
GCB operates fundraisers during Nutcracker performance weekend. Flower bouquets, delivered to dancers during performance weekend, are available to pre-order online through our Store and purchase in the lobby — all proceeds support GCB’s Scholarship program. Please visit Shop for more information.

Cultural Appreciation or Appropriation?
The Nutcracker ballet was originally choreographed in 1892 by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, to a magical score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. At this time in Russia, dance artists were becoming aware of, and the public was gaining interest in, the vast world of art and culture beyond their own borders. Tchaikovsky’s score celebrates his personal understanding and appreciation for the music, rhythms, and instruments from other cultures including China, the Middle East, and Spain. Garden City Ballet follows the original choreographers’ lead of honoring the cultures that are celebrated in the music, while avoiding stereotyping of people that are being represented. Our intention is to provide choreography that is culturally sensitive — but that also honors the traditions of the original ballet. Many articles have been written, and can easily be found online, exploring The Nutcracker’s portrayal of ethnically diverse cultures in today’s world.