Performancing Metrics


Boston Ballet Dancers Reveal Their Nutcracker Favorites

Boston Ballet Nutcracker
Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; photo by Roasalie O'Connor

Attending a performance of Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker at Boston Ballet is a beloved holiday tradition for many New Englanders. Everyone in the audience has their favorites: the beautiful costumes, the magical set, those cheeky mice striking a pose... but what are the moments most popular with the dancers'? I reached out to three Boston Ballet performers to get the scoop on their best-loved Nutcracker moments. 

Kathryn McDonald
Kathryn McDonald and Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Kathryn McDonald, Corps de Ballet, Boston Ballet:

What are your Nutcracker favorites? My favorite costume would have to be the Sugar Plum Fairy's costume at the beginning of Act II. Who doesn't love a sparkly, pink tutu? The costume is laced with thousands of Swarovski crystals that sparkle every time the ballerina moves. My favorite music from the Nutcracker is Waltz of the Snowflakes. I imagine Tchaikovsky composing this piece of music with visions of snowflakes lightly dancing across a quiet and calm field...With my favorite piece of music being the Waltz of the Snowflakes, it is no wonder that my favorite scene to dance is Snow. This role inspires me to jump and twirl like the graceful snow that falls during the wintertime. I try to imagine myself as a snowflake who dances differently than all the other girls (“snowflakes”) in the scene. After all, no two snowflakes are alike! 

Which upcoming ballet are you most excited to perform? I am most excited to perform Swan Lake again. Tchaikovsky’s composition is absolutely genius. The music will get stuck in your head for hours but it never gets old! The haunting story-line is deep and dramatic. There is so much life and energy throughout the whole ballet that one never wants to stop watching it...
Sabi Varga
Sabi Varga in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Sabi Varga, Soloist, Boston Ballet

What is your favorite scene to dance from The Nutcracker? The night scene with Clara as Drosselmeier Why? I just find it beautiful to think that you could have a relationship between a child and an uncle who guides you through a magical dream.

What is your favorite costume from The Nutcracker? The Snow King. I find it the most elegant for a male dancer to wear.

Which upcoming ballet are you most excited to perform? Onegin!  Why?  Well, you have to come and see it… (Save 20% on select dates of Boston Ballet's Onegin with code FASHIONISTA! Details below.)

Rie Ichikawa
Rie Ichikawa in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Rie Ichikawa, Soloist, Boston Ballet

What are your Nutcracker favorites? My favorite Nutcracker music is from the Snow Scene at the end of the first act!! I just love how the music changes from the battle scene rhythms and becomes a magical, beautiful melody. I also love dancing the Snow Queen. The beautiful staging, with the falling snow and the bright costumes and sets have always been my favorite part to dance.

For many people, attending The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. What's your favorite holiday tradition? My favorite holiday tradition would have to be dancing The Nutcracker every year. I especially love that I can bring my children to the theater. They get to play back stage and be part of the magic. 

What else are you looking forward to dancing this year? I'm most excited about getting to perform in former principal dancer Yury Yanowsky's new creation. It's still in the initial creation stages, but so far I really love it!

Boston Ballet Nutcracker
Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; photo by Rosalie O'Connor

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*Save 20% on select dates of Boston Ballet's Onegin with code FASHIONISTA! Valid for the following 2016 dates: Friday, February 26, 7:30pm; Wednesday, March 2, 7:30pm; Friday, March 4, 7:30pm; Saturday, March 5, 1pm. Limit: 9 tickets per household. Promotion ends January 15, 2016. Subject to availability, Valid on sections A, B, and C. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. Not to be combined with any other offers. Available in person and at Boston Ballet Box office, online at and via phone, 617.695.6955


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