Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite may be one of the most recognized pieces of classical music in the world - and for many Americans, it's the soundtrack to the holiday season.
Friday, that marvelous music returns to Seattle, performed live every weekend through the end of December at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
"It's one of the iconic productions - not just ballet," says PNB director of communications Gary Tucker. "It's one of the iconic shows that everyone should experience at some point."
This year The Nutcracker features close to 150 young dancers, in alternating casts, from the Pacific Northwest Ballet school. Tucker says many perform year after year as they advance.
"Little kids who are like, a party kid in the first year that they do it, they grow up and become a mouse or a soldier or a polichinelle...it's always exciting to see someone sort of step into a star role and give a performance of a lifetime."
While PNB has been putting on some version of The Nutcracker for around 40 years, fans who grew up with the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak version will see some surprises in this year's performance. Several years ago, PNB switched to George Balanchine's choreography, with costumes and set designs by Ian Falconer.
"There is magic on stage," says Tucker. "I remember the first time I saw it here at PNB, there was a family sitting next to me, and the child turned to the dad and said - 'Is this real?' - because he couldn't believe what he was seeing on stage."
Tickets start at $27 dollars, and you can find them here.