A tradition for over 50 years, UNC School of the Arts’ (UNCSA) annual nine-show run of the classic ballet The Nutcracker is not your average school play. According to The Hollywood Reporter, these students are among the best in the world. Held in the historic 1929 Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem each December, this must-see show draws more than 10,000 patrons each year. Find out why it’s such a magical event and how to make the most of your experience in downtown Winston-Salem.
Perfection on Pointe
As one of the few performances of The Nutcracker that has a live student orchestra, UNCSA’s rendition delivers the drama of the narrative without any pre-recorded music. All of the costumes for the show are created on campus and meticulously maintained. The result is picture-perfect details that you’d expect from a professional-level show.
“Our holiday performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ are particularly important to UNCSA students because the funds they generate go directly to assisting students with their education by providing much-needed scholarships,” said UNCSA Assistant Dean of Dance Jared Redick.
Each year UNCSA welcomes internationally acclaimed guest dancers to star in select performances of the show. This year, the December 12 and 13 performances feature Yuriko Kajiya as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Connor Walsh as the Cavalier Prince. Both Kajiya and Walsh are principals with the Houston Ballet.
“We are particularly thrilled to offer two principal dancers from the Houston Ballet as guest dancers in our 2018 production of ‘The Nutcracker,’” said UNCSA Dean of Dance Susan Jaffe. “Yuriko and Connor are among America’s premier ballet dancers and will showcase their world-class technique and artistry in Winston-Salem. They are not only sure to captivate our audiences on December 12 and 13 but also will inspire and teach our UNCSA students.”
Make It an Event
Whether you’re catching an evening show or a matinee, there’s plenty to do within walking distance of the Stevens Center. For families with small children, consider swinging by Footnote, a cafe adjacent to Bookmarks, a not-for-profit bookstore. The kiddos can grab a new book from the store (supporting literacy in the community) and parents can enjoy a craft brew, cocktail, or coffee roasted on-site.
UNCSA is partnering with newly opened Canteen Market & Bistro (located downtown on Fourth Street) to offer a “Nutcracker Brunch.” Take the family for a delicious meal before enjoying one of the matinee showings, and while there, be sure and pick up a few holiday gift items for your favorite foodie.
For those leaning toward an evening show, sip on a draft beer or cocktail from one of the many craft breweries and cocktail lounges lining Fourth Street and into the Downtown Arts District and beyond. Looking for dinner recommendations? More than 80 restaurants call downtown home. Check out our online directory to find your new favorite.
Performance Schedule (Dec. 7 – 16)
Dec. 7, 8, 12 – 15; 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16; 2 p.m.