December 9, 2020

Ballet Companies Go Virtual For “Nutcracker” Season

STREAMED “NUTCRACKER” MAGIC: Lillian DiPiazza and Sterling Baca are the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” available online through the holiday season. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

The pandemic has put live performance on hold for the foreseeable future. This is an especially cruel blow to the ballet companies that rely on sellout attendance at The Nutcracker to pay a large chunk of the bills, not to mention the eager students who make up a good portion of the cast. It is disappointing, too, for families who consider going to the timeless ballet a holiday tradition.

All is not lost. Several ballet companies are streaming previously videotaped performances, and offering them to the public for a fee that helps fund operations and keep them afloat. Here are a few:

New York City Ballet: The company associated with choreographer George Balanchine presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker December 11-January 3, on Marquee TV. The streaming is a performance from December 5, 2019 starring Maria Kowroski as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier, and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop, along with more than 50 dancers. Andrew Litton conducts the 62-piece orchestra. Tickets are $25 and include a month’s trial of Marquee TV. Visit to reserve.

Pennsylvania Ballet: The Philadelphia-based company is among those that dance George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and they will stream a performance taped at the Academy of Music last year, from December 16-25. Tickets range from $25 on Christmas Eve to $50 for unlimited online viewing. Also available are a series of virtual Nutcracker Tea Parties starting December 19. Visit to reserve tickets.

The Royal Ballet: The British company is actually planning socially distant, live performances of Peter Wright’s version of The Nutcracker at its London home, Covent Garden, this season. While no digital performances are planned, you can watch a rehearsal of the ballet for free, through January 30. Visit