I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen The Nutcracker performed live in my lifetime. Even my boys have seen it multiple times. In fact, this would have been my middle child’s sixth year in a row to watch it. This year, in what I’m calling “The Year of the Pivot,” we won’t get to see it performed in person, but there are still many ways to watch it – some are even free!
Keep it Local
It is so important to support your local performing arts whenever possible. Ballet Lubbock is offering a narrated video presentation of The Nutcracker this year. They are even offering two different ways to view it! You can watch the performance at the Stars & Stripes Drive-In on December 11, 2020, or you can stream the performance from your own home from December 11-31, 2020. Tickets can be purchased on their website.
Watch for Free
If you aren’t able to purchase tickets to a performance right now, or if you’re like me and want to watch as many different versions as you can, several ballet companies are offering free performances.
American Midwest Ballet will be offering their Nutcracker Home Cinema Edition free of charge December 12-25, 2020. Links to the performance are on their website.
Butler University offers a free streaming performance of The Nutcracker from November 28 – December 4, 2020. The link is available on their website.
Central Florida Ballet will be streaming their Nutcracker ballet with a touch of cirque and a glimmer of pyrotechnics for free through their website. The one-hour narrated version for kids will be presented on December 12, 2020, and the full-length version will premiere on December 26, 2020.
The City of Boston Ballet is streaming a recording of their Urban Nutcracker on December 4, 13, and 24, 2020. You can register for a free ticket on their website.
Colorado Ballet will be presenting The Nutcracker on Rocky Mountain PBS several times from November 26 – December 25, 2020. A direct link to watch the performance is also available on their website.
Emerald Ballet Theatre presents a recording of their full-length production of The Nutcracker on December 11-13, 2020. The video will be available on their website.
International Youth Ballet offers a one-hour family-friendly performance of Nutcracker highlights November 27, 2020 – January 1, 2021. You need to register online to view the free performance.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents their Fireside Nutcracker on December 17-31, 2020. The performance is free, but you do need to register online to receive the link.
Saint Louis Ballet will be the Nutcracker’s streaming performances on December 12-13 and December 19-23, 2020. While the performance is free, you do need to register for a virtual ticket on their website.
Other Ways to Watch
If you have Amazon Prime, you can view several versions of The Nutcracker. My personal favorite is Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker.
Netflix is offering Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which is a documentary that highlights Debbie Allen’s career and follows her and her students while they prepare for her annual Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. While it doesn’t look like the actual performance is available for streaming, this is a great behind-the-scenes look at the preparation and hard work that goes into putting on the annual show.
Many other ballet companies are offering paid streaming versions of their Nutcracker performances. A detailed list of many of them can be found on Playbill’s website.
If you’re looking for something a little different this year, one of those paid versions, Hip Hop Nutcracker, is a holiday mash-up for the whole family, with remixed and reimagined versions of the holiday classic. Tickets can be purchased through their website.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Pajamas?
While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to watch a live, in-person version of The Nutcracker this year, I do admit that I’m excited to see several different versions from the comfort of my own living room! How will you be watching The Nutcracker this year?