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UW’s Theatre and Dance, Symphony Orchestra to Present ‘The Nutcracker’ Dec. 8-11

December 1, 2022
dancers on a stage
Ballet dancers perform during the snow scene from a past production of “The Nutcracker.” The timeless family classic will be performed Dec. 8-11 in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. (Spencer Duncan Photo)

The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance, along with the UW Symphony Orchestra, will celebrate the holiday season with “The Nutcracker,” a cherished family favorite, Dec. 8-11.

The ballet runs Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 8-10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m. in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium.

Tickets are $18 for the public, $15 for senior citizens and $10 for students. To purchase tickets, visit the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts box office, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at UW faculty and staff members, and military personnel can purchase tickets at a discounted rate. To receive the discount, visit the Performing Arts box office between noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday or call (307) 766-6666.

The production is directed by UW dance faculty members Aaron Wood and Juliana Freude, and it is choreographed by Freude, Cat Kamrath, Margaret Wilson and Wood. Wilson and Wood’s choreography is a special nod to retired dance Professor Marsha Knight.

“‘The Nutcracker’ has been a tradition for many in Laramie since 1988, when choreographer Marsha Knight, now an emeritus faculty member, brought her vision to life,” Wood says. “She anchored the production in the Laramie community and created eight versions, each with a slightly different offering, but creating an expectation in the community for a special event every four years.”

The UW Symphony Orchestra, directed by Department of Music Professor Michael Griffith, and the UW Lab School Treble Choir, directed by Jennifer Mellizo, will accompany the latest ballet production.

The classic ballet fantasy is about a young girl, Clara, who receives a nutcracker for Christmas that spurs her fantastical dream. Based on the 19th century German fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann and featuring Tchaikovsky’s dazzling score, “The Nutcracker” comes alive with dancing snowflakes, magical mice, marching soldiers, waltzing flowers, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince.

Over the years, UW’s production of this timeless classic evolved from a European setting to 1890s Laramie at the Ivinson Mansion and its surrounding grounds. With local references to the Laramie landscape and Old West characters, the first act of the ballet still features meticulous, historically accurate costumes designed by Professor Emeritus Lee Hodgson as well as scenic backdrops, portals and set pieces designed by Professor Emeritus Ron Steger.

Since UW’s first production of the ballet, thousands of dancers, from UW students to area schoolchildren to community members, as well as technical crew, production teams and audience members have made “The Nutcracker” a part of their winter festivities and traditions.

“Traditions provide cornerstones for communities, families, friends and oneself where memories, hopes and dreams are shared,” Wood says. “Yet, traditions evolve with each generation.”

This year’s production of “The Nutcracker” honors its distinguished history, presenting familiar characters and dances, and it also presents new variations of those characters and dances.

“As you watch ‘The Nutcracker’ this holiday season, we invite you to consider what traditions you look forward to each year,” Wood says. “We extend a warm welcome to new and old friends, and we wish you bright winter days ahead while you share traditions with those who bring you joy and happiness.”

For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email

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