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The Nutcracker Performed Live with IF Symphony

We often think of the holidays as a time to relax and recharge. But for the musicians of the Idaho Falls Symphony, as well as dancers with the Eugene Ballet and the Idaho Falls School of Ballet, things are about to get incredibly busy. “The holidays are the busiest time of year for us, and The Nutcracker gives us plenty of work to do,” remarks Dr. Thomas Heuser, Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony. “We have performed The Nutcracker many times before, but the music is very demanding and every production is a major undertaking.”

Despite the challenges, audiences are in for an extraordinary treat. “Hearing a live performance of The Nutcracker can be life-changing, especially for young people,” Heuser says. “Not only does the visual spectacle of the dancing take your breath away, but—as only live music can do—listeners experience a kind of magic that brings the story to life. The experience is profound.”

For many professional ballet companies like the Oregon-based Eugene Ballet, their grueling holiday schedule includes an annual Nutcracker Tour. But of the dozens of stops along the way, only a few include live orchestra. In Idaho Falls, the canned music is switched off, and the dancers are fueled by the same energy that energizes the audience: the thrill of a live orchestral performance, led this year by Eugene Ballet Music Director Brian McWhorter.

Dancing alongside the Eugene Ballet will be local IF dancers of all ages, from the youngest baby mice to groups of elegant dinner guests. Selected by audition, these students have an unparalleled opportunity to mentor with professionals and to learn from great teachers. Deborah Bean, director of the Idaho Falls School of Ballet, and Jennifer Martin, the ballet mistress of the Eugene Ballet, have been working together to teach the details of the work’s choreography.

No performance of The Nutcracker Ballet would be complete without special effects, and the Eugene Ballet production does not disappoint. The battle scene between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King includes canon shots and flashy pyrotechnics. The Waltz of the Snowflakes is danced beneath falling snow, with the voices of a heavenly choir provided by the Hillcrest Advanced Women’s Choir under the direction of Camille Blackburn. And of course, at the stroke of midnight, Clara’s Christmas tree seems to grow as if by magic, and the Nutcracker figurine suddenly leaps to life. With costumes and sets by former Disney designers, this is one Nutcracker production that should not be missed.

“The Nutcracker Ballet” with the Idaho Falls Symphony and the Eugene Ballet will be showing for one night only: Thursday, December 12th at 7:30pm in the Idaho Falls Civic Center for the Performing Arts. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended; visit for online orders and complete event information. Meanwhile, follow the Idaho Falls Symphony on Facebook and Instagram @ifsymphony for news, events, and promotions.

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Idaho Falls Symphony