Tickets are on sale for "The Nutcracker" with live productions at the Stevens Center Dec. 10-19

Tickets are on sale for "The Nutcracker," a beloved UNCSA holiday tradition, with 11 live performances at the historic Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem, Dec. 10-19, and the "Nutcracker On-Demand Experience" available beginning Dec. 20. This year’s production, which returns to the Stevens Center for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic, features new choreography by UNCSA School of Dance faculty member Ilya Kozadayev and music by the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Guest Conductor Jiannan Cheng. The performance times offer family-friendly scheduling and there’s also a chance to win free tickets with “The Nutcracker” Social Media Dance Challenge.

Tickets for both the live performance and the “Nutcracker On-Demand Experience” are on sale now at or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945. Tickets to Stevens Center performances begin at $25. The Stevens Center orchestra level will be open at full capacity, and the audience will be required to wear masks. The on-demand experience, which includes a filmed version of the complete 2021 production, fun games, trivia and more, is $75 per household. Proceeds from “The Nutcracker” support student scholarships in the schools of Dance, Design & Production and Music.

“Nothing beats the thrill of live performance — for the artists and the audience,” said Chancellor Brian Cole. “Last year, amid COVID-19 restrictions, UNCSA came together to create an innovative, all-new ‘Nutcracker’ film which reached audiences near and far online. This year, we’re excited to offer both live and recorded performances, so that everyone can share in the delight of our stunning stage production.”

Enter the Social Media Dance Challenge on TikTok or Instagram

Enter the Social Media Dance Challenge on TikTok or Instagram using the hashtags #UNCSAnutcracker and #Nutz.

Social Media Dance Challenge

To celebrate the return of “The Nutcracker” to the Stevens Center, the UNCSA School of Dance presents “The Nutcracker” Social Media Dance Challenge for a chance to win free tickets. Participants are invited to post a video on TikTok of themselves doing one of two short dances choreographed and performed by students in the School of Dance. Entries will also be accepted on Instagram Reels. One winner will be announced each Monday for the remainder of November, and each week’s winner will be awarded their choice of two individual tickets to either the Dec. 15 or 16 evening performance or one household ticket to the "Nutcracker On-Demand Experience.” Entries will be evaluated on execution, originality and creativity, character/personality and style.

"Throughout the pandemic, social media and virtual platforms allowed dancers and audiences to stay connected through the art form,” said Dean of Dance Endalyn Taylor. “The TikTok and Instagram Challenge is a fun way to launch our return to live performance and celebrate the dance artist that lives in each one of us.”

Entrants should use hashtags #UNCSAnutcracker and #Nutz. Additional information about “The Nutcracker” Social Media Challenge is available at

The production

Ilya Kozadayev’s choreography is a new imagining of the original stage production, adhering to UNCSA COVID-19 Community Health Standards as recommended by state and national public health agencies. “Traditionally, the youngest performers in ‘The Nutcracker’ are from our Preparatory Dance Program for third- through ninth-graders, who perform in the Act One party scene,” said Jared Redick, assistant dean of the School of Dance and executive producer of “The Nutcracker.”

"The Nutcracker" returns live to the Stevens Center Dec. 10

"The Nutcracker" returns live to the Stevens Center Dec. 10. / Photo: Peter Mueller

“Because many of them are too young to be vaccinated, we felt it was in everyone’s best interests to reimagine Act One, creating an exciting new opening for the ballet,” he added.

Clara and her Nutcracker Prince remain front and center in the new production. Also returning are the favorites Sugar Plum Fairy, Snowflakes and Flowers, as well as the show-stopping Trepak.

Kozadayev also choreographed the 2020 “Nutcracker,” reimagined entirely for film. An award-winning dancer and choreographer, he was born to a family of dancers in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he received his dance training from Vaganova Ballet Academy. He also trained with the School of American Ballet in New York City, Academy of Colorado Ballet and graduated from the John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.

The UNCSA Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Jiannan Cheng, director of the Rowan University Symphony Orchestra in Glassboro, New Jersey, conductor of the university’s opera productions and instructor of conducting. She is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Cheng completed her undergraduate studies at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing and earned her master’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Cheng made her European debut conducting and working with the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt and the Munich Hochschule Symphony Orchestra. Her teachers and mentors have included world-renowned conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur and Marcus Bosch, to whom she served as an assistant in Heidenheim, Germany, and led a successful performance of Verdi’s “Nabucco.” She has been conducting fellow of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

Family-friendly ticketing

In addition to evening performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, and Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 15-17, UNCSA will offer family-friendly Saturday matinees at noon and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18, and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees Dec. 12 and 19, and a 10 a.m. matinee on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

“So many families come to see ‘The Nutcracker’ year after year, but an evening event can be difficult for our youngest audience members,” said Redick. “Our new schedule allows parents to select ticket options that best fit their needs, so everyone can experience the magic and excitement created by talented students in our schools of Dance, Design & Production, and Music.”

The “Nutcracker On-Demand Experience”

“The Nutcracker” will be performed in-person at the Stevens Center this season, but for audiences who prefer to see the production from home, the “Nutcracker On-Demand Experience” is available. Ticket-buyers gain exclusive access to the “Nutcracker On-Demand Experience” through the UNCSA Events App. The experience includes exclusive on-demand access to a filmed version of the 2021 production beginning Dec. 20; Nutcracker history/trivia; coloring sheets; games; online program; and a community wall to post your memories and share. Sign up for the “Nutcracker On-Demand Experience” at Instructions to access the app will be sent by email to those who register.

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November 01, 2021