Houston Ballet dancers perform in Stanton Welch's The Nutcracker, 2019

Are you mourning this holiday season’s lack of sugar plum fairies and dancing dolls? Well, you can officially dry your tears.

While the Houston Ballet’s annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is still cancelled, the company’s bringing us a different kind of Christmas present this year with Nutcracker Sweets. Billed as a “digital holiday spectacular,” this online program, which runs from December 15 to January 8, includes new works set to beloved holiday songs, as well as an abbreviated version of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker

Of course, there’s a slight bittersweet note to this surprise announcement. The company also shared that it will be replacing the rest its in-person 2020-2021 season with a variety of digital programming. In-person performances, including La Bayadère (February 25–March 7), Rock, Roll & Tutus (March 11–21), Rite of Spring (May 27–June 6), and Aladdin (June 10–20), have now been cancelled through June 2021.

On the bright side, the Ballet shared a taste of what we can expect in terms of online offerings (more are expected to be announced at later dates). Its annual Onstage Dinner will deliver a three-course meal, along with a night of digital dancing, straight to your doorstep on December 4. Meanwhile this year’s Ballet Ball, scheduled for February 20, 2021, has transformed into Ballet Ball Home Edition: Having a Ball, a virtual soirée featuring throwbacks to moments of Ballet Balls past.

And you don’t even have to wait to enjoy the Ballet’s incomparable work. The company’s newest dance-for-camera work, Restoration, is on YouTubeFacebook, and Instagram for free.


Filmed at 19 outdoor locations across Houston and featuring 62 masked dancers, Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s new piece is meant to reflect the company’s dedication and persistence during these difficult times.

“Art is like the flower that grows through the cracks of the concrete—it blooms through its surroundings,” says Welch said in an official statement. “We continue to create and reflect this time frame. You’ll continue to see that in both what we deliver and how we deliver it to the audience.”

Nutcracker Sweets: Dec 15–Jan 8. $35. Online. More info and tickets at houstonballet.org

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