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The Nutcracker

A spectacular professional production of the full original Nutcracker ballet from Imperial Russia interpreted and performed by Asheville’s own Ballet Company, directed by Ann Dunn.


Diana Wortham Theatre at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Box office 828.257.4530. 


$15-$50, available at Wortham Arts

A friendly caution: please be sure you only purchase from Wortham directly, as scam sites are unfortunately common.

Friday, December 8, 7:30pm

Saturday, December 9, 2:30pm

Saturday, December 9, 7:30pm

Sunday, December 10, 2:30pm

In addition to these public showings, as a key component of its Educational Outreach Program, The Asheville Ballet will perform its production of the holiday classic The Nutcracker for school children on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, at 9:30 AM. Thanks to generous patronage, we are able to offer children’s tickets at $7 this year. Seating for our school shows is limited, and this popular opportunity fills up quickly. For reservations call Wortham Center for the Performing Arts at 828-257-4530.

Asheville Ballet Nutcracker poster 2023.jpg

The Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition in Asheville for half a century. Children and adults will be charmed yet again by ballet’s greatest classic. This all-time favorite story of Clara’s magical midnight trip to the Land of Sweets is classical ballet at its best. Snow will fall in the Snow Queen’s kingdom, scary rats will frighten and good soldiers will rescue Clara, the exquisite Sugar Plum Fairy and her handsome Cavalier will dance their eternally lovely pas de deux, and beautiful flowers will waltz, and waltz, and waltz.


There is an historical line behind our production, from Petipa and Vaganova in 19th century Russia, to their pupil and dancer George Balanchine in 20th century New York, to his pupil Ann Dunn in 21st century Asheville. This year’s production features new choreography for several dances, including Tea, Peppermint, Chocolate, and the elegant Snow Queen. The creative team that has built on original choreography by Marius Petipa and Ann Dunn includes Fleming Lomax, Allison Hertzberg, Marcelo Martinez, Megan Jones Medford, Tricia Renshaw, and Jacob Walas.


With great excitement, we announce the return of featured artist, Marcelo Martinez, as the Cavalier. He will once again partner our own Megan Jones Medford’s Sugar Plum Fairy. Mr. Martinez appears courtesy of Carolina Ballet, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Asheville. In addition, we are pleased to welcome guest artist and beloved Asheville local, Rob Bowen, in the roles of Drosselmeyer and Mother Ginger.


Marcelo Martinez was born in Paraguay where he began his training at the former Academia de danza Bettina Ramos. He then continued his training in Brazil at the Centro de Dança Rio under the instruction of Maria Angelica Fiorani. At age 17 he was accepted into the Companhia Jovem do Teatro Municipal do Rio De Janeiro where he danced under the directions of Dalal Aschar and Mariza Estrella. Mr. Martinez accepted a position with The Washington Ballet where he danced lead roles including Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Stravinsky Violin Concerto by Balanchine, and The Rite of Spring by Trey MacIntyre. In 2007, he joined Carolina Ballet, where he has danced many principal roles. Mr. Martinez has also appeared as a guest artist with Greensboro Ballet, Susan Farrell Ballet, Arka Ballet, The Raleigh Dance Theater, and The Asheville Ballet. 


Megan Jones Medford received a BA in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She spent six years in NYC as a professional dancer and teacher. Along with freelance work Megan was a company member with Periapsis Music & Dance, LiNK! the movement, and Shauna Sorensen and Dancers. Her performances include SummerStage, Jazz at the Lincoln Center, American Dance Guild Festival, Symphony Space, New York Moves, Carnival, and Choreographers Canvas. Megan trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Martha Graham School, and American Dance Festival. She was on faculty for the Children & Teen Program at Broadway Dance Center and at All Star Studios in NYC. She has guest taught and choreographed for studios and conventions around the States. Megan and her family moved back to her hometown of Asheville, NC, where she performed with Lindsey Kelley Dance and currently performs with The Asheville Ballet and with Stewart/Owen Dance. She is thrilled to be able to share her love of dance by teaching students throughout the area.


Rob Bowen has a MFA in theatre technology with an emphasis on lighting from the University of Texas in Austin. He just retired as a full professor from UNC-Asheville after 30 years of teaching. He has designed many sets and lights professionally and has directed plays as well. Currently he is on the Board of Directors for Asheville Community Theatre. Although he has acted and designed for many dance and ice companies, this is his first time performing with a dance company. Since retiring, he gets to spend more time with his wife of 43 years, his children, and grandchildren who all have a deep appreciation for the performing arts.  

Asheville Ballet, North Carolina’s oldest non-profit ballet company, has built a reputation on the belief that dance plays a vital role in the education and culture of the community. First incorporated in 1963, the company has created and presented work in Asheville every year since. In an average season, formal and educational outreach programming affects a culturally diverse audience of approximately 23,000 people. An active advisory panel and a strong, well-organized volunteer base assist a committed board.


“Asheville is so fortunate to have a resident ballet company of this caliber,” says Ann Dunn, Artistic Director. “The community has, essentially, a year-long resident repertoire company. Seasoned ballet fans and novices alike have the opportunity to watch consummate professionals perform a wide variety of roles, from classical to contemporary.”


A perfect opportunity for young people to encounter professional classical dance and a wonderful, traditional story, in a real theatrical experience.


Asheville Ballet has produced residencies by historical choreographers (Anna Sokolow, Douglas Dunn, Lori Bellilove), hosted master classes and workshops by international dance stars (Sean Curran, Mark Dendy, Chuck Davis, David Dorfman), produced the three-week Fall Into Dance festival, and commissioned both classical and contemporary choreography.


Asheville Ballet productions reflect the region’s varied interests. In addition to an ongoing relationship with The Biltmore Estate, work has been produced for fund-raisers (The Health Adventure, The Arts Council), civic events (Martin Luther King Day, Bele Chere Festival), and commercial events (The Dirty Dancing Festival, opening for the Pointer Sisters).


Since its inception, Asheville Ballet has produced both cutting edge interdisciplinary work and full-length major work. The company has collaborated with other local art agencies (the Asheville Symphony, Asheville Bravo Concerts, Asheville Community Theater, Asheville Lyric Opera), and has worked live with the area’s major musical, poetic, and visual artists.


In addition to promoting new work and a professional ballet company for our region, Asheville Ballet offers an annual lecture series on dance appreciation, in co-ordination with other local dance presenters, and generates educational articles on dance history and appreciation for national and local publications. The company has built a full library of dance-related materials.


Asheville Ballet’s commitment to supporting its professional adult members is evidenced by its challenging and stimulating performances, choreography, and teaching opportunities. The company also continues to nurture the careers of advanced youth members. Dancers who have worked with the ballet have performed with Alvin Ailey, Kirov Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Boston Ballet, Geneva Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Company dancers have appeared in Broadway musicals, Hollywood films, and have won titles all the way up to Miss and Mrs. America. They have also been accepted at the schools of the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Juilliard, Boston Ballet, Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Robert Joffrey, and The Dance Conservatory at Purchase.


Asheville Ballet has created and found funding for scholarships for advanced dancers to pursue professional work in New York and Europe, and for underprivileged children to study dance in Asheville. The company has worked with Project Steam, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Helpmate, Elida Home, Presbyterian Home for Children, and local churches to locate and encourage new dancers and dance-appreciators. The Tix for Tots program makes hundreds of tickets available to introduce young people to the wonders of dance.


For more information email The Asheville Ballet at, or call Director Ann Dunn at 828-215-3728.

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