COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A holiday tradition attracting thousands of central Ohioans returns this week, featuring more than 180 Columbus dance students.

(Courtesy Photo/Jennifer Zmuda)

“The Nutcracker” opened Thursday at the Ohio Theatre with 19 performances through Dec. 24. BalletMet students are joined by the professional company and BalletMet 2, a group of seven up-and-coming dancers, to bring the production to life.

“More than 25,000 people came to see ‘The Nutcracker’ last year when we returned from COVID cancellations, and we are truly so excited to welcome everyone back again this year,” said BalletMet Executive Director Sue Porter.

Ticket prices range from $38.70 to $112.20 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center at 39 E. State St. or online here.

Inspired by the sounds of composer Tchaikovsky, the classic story follows young heroine Clara who is gifted a wooden nutcracker on Christmas Eve. After falling asleep, Clara wakes to find her family’s Christmas tree has tripled in size and the nutcracker has come to life. The pair go on an adventure to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, where Clara meets a cast of colorful characters.

“It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year for us as a company when we get to gather everyone together — including our academy students — to bring this cherished tradition back to life for our city,” said BalletMet artistic director Edwaard Liang.

In addition to standard performances, BalletMet is offering a shortened performance on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. designed for younger visitors. The performance is shortened to one hour with reduced noises, friendly character introductions and calming areas.

View all times for the production’s remaining performances below:

  • Dec. 15 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec, 16 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 17 – 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 18 – noon and 5:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 20 –7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 21 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 22 – 11:00 a.m. (My First Nutcracker/sensory-friendly environment) and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 23 – noon and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 24 – noon