The Nutcracker

Asheville Ballet announces The Nutcracker 2020, In the COVID Era: 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.

Available via private link, December 20 – January 3 whenever (and as many times as) you want to view it, filmed live at Diana Wortham Theatre at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.


All Tickets are $20.

Visit our Eventbrite page for tickets:

Image by Denise Cerniglia. 

Marcelo Martinez by Denise Cerniglia (hi

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 full production, using some footage from 2019, features an exquisite new pas de deux for the Snow Queen and King, created by Marcelo Martinez, principal dancer of Carolina Ballet, and new choreography for The Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier Pas de Deux, created by Carolina Ballet’s founding artistic director, Robert Weiss, all coached by Marcelo Martinez as well as by our own Fleming Lomax and Megan Jones Medford.

We are most thrilled to have made a significant connection between the oldest ballet company in North Carolina, The Asheville Ballet, and the premier ballet company in the state, Carolina Ballet, the administration of which could not have been more gracious. Our Director, Ann Dunn, and Robert Weiss, Founding Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet, share a background with The New York City Ballet’s school, School of American Ballet.


Robert Weiss is an American ballet dancer, choreographer, and Founding Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet. He began his professional career at age 17 joining the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine, eventually becoming a Principal Dancer. Balanchine created several roles for him, including Ballo della Regina.


With great excitement, we introduce featured artists for 2020: Mr. Martinez as the Snow King and the Sugar Cavalier, and our own ballerinas, Annika Stewart (Snow Queen) and Eve Currens (Sugar Plum Fairy).

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. Image of Marcelo Martinez by Denise Cerniglia. 

Eve Currens has been training with the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance since the age of two, taking classes in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. She has performed with the company, The Asheville Ballet, in the Nutcracker since 2008, with past favorite roles including Lead Chinese, Lead Marzipan, Clara, Fritz, and Ballerina Doll. Eve has also performed in Fall into Dance, Spring into Dance, Danse Macabre, Cinderella, An Appalachian Romance, Sleeping Beauty, and Winnie the Pooh. She is thrilled to be dancing as Sugar Plum in this year’s Nutcracker. The Asheville Ballet has been Eve’s second family and a place for her to grow her love for dance both in the studio and on stage. Image by Tricia Renshaw. 

Eve Currens by Tricia Renshaw.jpeg
Annika Stewart by Tricia Renshaw.jpeg

Annika Stewart has been training since the age of two with the Asheville Academy of Ballet in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. She has been in “The Nutcracker” since 2008, cast in roles including, Clara, the Land of Sweets Fairy, Ballerina Doll, Lead Marzipan and Lead Russian as well as snow and flower corps. She has also been in “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” “Danse Macabre” and “Spring into Dance” since 2015. The feeling of being on stage doing what she loves, dancing for an audience, fuels Annika Stewart’s passion for dance. Image by Tricia Renshaw. 

“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 as close to a real theatrical experience as we can get in the era of COVID.


Asheville Ballet has built a reputation on the belief that dance plays a vital role in the education and culture of the community. As a key component of its Educational Outreach Program, The Asheville Ballet usually performs its entire production of the holiday classic The Nutcracker for school children, and we look forward to being in the theatre together next year!


Asheville Ballet is North Carolina’s oldest non-profit ballet company. 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 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, The Asheville Art Museum), 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 company’s professional school, The Asheville Academy of Ballet at