Arts Performing Arts

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre Presents The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Expect the unexpected from Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre (ACDT) and New Studio of Dance’s 10th annual performance of The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, taking place at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts’ Diana Wortham Theatre Friday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, December 4, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Photo by Sandee Johnson

While most people are familiar with Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet The Nutcracker, this version returns to the original story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816 and features characters both familiar and unfamiliar. “We try to maintain the vision of the story’s author while adding our own style of modern dance to the performance,” says ACDT director Susan Collard.

Though darker than Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is an entertaining and educational show that is appropriate for all ages. Characters include the humorous King and Queen of Sausages, Dudley the Dragon and the Mouse King, along with his lovely wife and their numerous children, who wreak havoc among the dancers while aerialists fly overhead.

The local aerial artists are new this year, as are elements of the sets and costumes. Giant puppets, including the popular Dudley the Dragon, make an appearance. Children as well as seasoned, professional dancers perform new, original choreography.

“We use lots of theatrical techniques in our choreography,” says Collard. “I am always inspired by the characters and the dancers performing the role.”

Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. Tickets are $32 general admission, $23 for children and $27 for students and seniors. Learn more or purchase tickets at

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