The Nutcracker: A Ballet for Kids of All Ages

December 2, 2016 | By | Comments (6)

postersugarplumqrcorrect The Nutcracker: A Ballet for Kids of All Ages

For 35 consecutive years, the Alabama Ballet has traveled to Anniston, Alabama to present George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker Ballet” to both the community and about 1800 third graders from 3 surrounding counties. The Knox Concert Series is a 100% Volunteer non-profit organization that gives students in these rural areas the opportunity to enjoy this iconic Christmas ballet. An opportunity they might not have the chance to experience.

Every year, area dancers, 7-15 years old, with at least 1 year of dance experience, audition to fill 30 positions for our Local Cast. They dance with the ballet company in roles of Angels, Polichinelles, Candy Canes, and Party Teens. Rehearsals are conducted each week beginning in August, including a dress rehearsal with The Alabama Ballet in Birmingham the end of November.

 The Nutcracker: A Ballet for Kids of All Ages

Before the show a reader and a dancer visit every school to read, explain and interactively demonstrate The Nutcracker story to prepare them for what they will see at the ballet, as well as provide guidance on concert etiquette.

knox2 The Nutcracker: A Ballet for Kids of All Ages

The volunteers love seeing the children’s reaction during the performance. After seeing the show, they are asked to write thank-you notes teaching another lesson in manners. Some of the thank-you notes include drawings of The Nutcracker characters, scenes, and even the auditorium.

Below are some excerpts from past years:

–“It was so good I bout cryed.”  Braxton

–“To me the whole show was amazeing.  My next favrit part was the suger plums that was amazing.  I’m not just saying it cose I have to it really is amazing…thank you everthing you did cuse it was amazeing!!!”  Chesnee

–“I really loved it.  It was great even without words.”  Justin

–“It was fun! The nutcracker was kind of funny, there is SO many favorite parts in the nutcracker that I want to tell you about!”  Christian, Kitty Stone

–“My favorite part was the music.”  Ariel

–“I thought it was funny when the Chines lady’s opend the box and the Chinese dude popped out of the box.  It was amazing when he jumped super high.”  Omega

–“My favorite part of The Nutcraker was when the nutcracker ternd into a prince because I think that it was like magic.”  Nevaeh

–“My favorite part was when the man lifted the girl up.  When he lifted the girl up I was like WOW!  Then I jumped up, and started to clap.”  Leah

–“I LOVED the “Nutcracker”!”  Ava

–“My fav-rit part was when big mice come out of the curten.  One got shot in the butt.”  Bailiegh

–“My favorite part was riden the buss.”  Anthony

021 1 The Nutcracker: A Ballet for Kids of All Ages

Plié your way to your local showing of The Nutcracker or check out our story for others we love.





  1. Betsy Davis

    Working with our local 3rd graders has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Thank you for publishing this article and highlighting Knox Concert Series’ efforts in bringing the arts to our community.

    December 11, 2016 at 8:18 am
  2. Brenda S. Stedham

    I love this story. I especially enjoyed the comments by the third graders!

    December 6, 2016 at 10:58 am
  3. Rebecca E. Ledford

    What a wonderful way to introduce the art of ballet to children throughout an area. Thank you, Southern Living, for sharing what is happening in the Anniston and Calhoun County, Alabama areas to expose children to ballet and stage production. By reading this, maybe other communities will be inspired to sponsor similar programs.

    December 5, 2016 at 10:25 pm
  4. ArthurMoore

    This article captures the true spirit of Christmas and is a wonderful story of the positive benefits of volunteerism. In a few short years our dedicated volunteers have seen this presentation grow from serving one county and 1,000 students to serving over 1,800 in four counties. I predict that within three years we will be making this presentation to almost 3,000 students as well as our sold out audience of over 1,000. Our volunteers are amazing!

    December 5, 2016 at 6:13 pm
  5. Mary Eloise H. Leake

    Thank you, Southern Living, for this article that features how the Knox Concert Series is promoting the arts in our area of Alabama.
    Many of the students who attend have never seen a large stage production of any kind. Thanks to dedicated volunteers, the third graders know the plot and have participated in dance motions with a costumed ballerina before they arrive.
    So when the curtain rises, the Nutcracker magic grabs them instantly – it’s something they never forget.

    December 5, 2016 at 5:59 pm
  6. Brenda S Shaw

    GREAT article!

    December 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm

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