The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre

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Perhaps the most famous ballet in the world, The Nutcracker is synonymous with Christmas.  In the DC area, the Washington Ballet has put a uniquely Washington spin on the timeless story by setting the classic story in 19th Century Georgetown.   All DC families will feel right at home seeing the dancers perform to Tchaikovsky’s score in front of scenes depicting the National Mall and DC’s  iconic Cherry Blossoms among other familiar sites.


The Washington Ballet’s iconic production is equal parts history lesson, mischief, beauty, and

humor. With General Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the Rat King, and

historical figures John Paul Jones and Miss Liberty, Harriet Tubman, Betsy Ross, and Benjamin

Franklin as dancing dolls, the story comes to life with intricate, stunning set designs, original custom costumes and over 100 dancers including students and trainees from The Washington School of Ballet now celebrating its 75th Anniversary.

For those not familiar with the story of the Nutcracker, as told by the Washington Ballet, the magic starts when young Clara receives her Uncle Drosselmeyer’s gift of a nutcracker at her family’s huge Christmas party.  What follows is a Christmas tree that magically grows 30 feet, a dramatic battle between toy soldiers and a band of rats, an explosion of cannon fire, and falling snow. By the time Clara and her young prince arrive in ‘Springtime’ they enjoy a stunning pas de deux for an

Anacostia brave and maiden, Spanish and Chinese dancers and waltzing cherry blossoms along the banks of the Potomac. Twirling cardinals, and a frontiersman.  Of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy performs her show-stopping, breathtaking dance as well.

The Washington Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker is a truly awe-inspiring experience.  Each performance features over 100 dancers, including some from the professional company and others who are Washington Ballet students, although the students are so talented and dance so well with the professional dancers that the line between amateur and pro is impressively blurred.  It is wonderous to watch so many dancers on stage at once creating scenes that seem both realistic and magical at once.

It is not an exaggeration to say that my nine-year-old daughter was transfixed by the performances.  Her favorite scenes included to very different dances.  One of her favorites, which I loved as well, was a calm serene winter dance with the ballerinas all in icy blue while her other favorite was a vibrant scene full of colorfully-dressed clowns bursting from a carousel.

While my daughter barely moved during the performance, The Nutcrackers is at it’s heart a family ballet and kids of all ages were in attendance.  Some were able to sit still more than others and no one in the audience seemed bothered by a little wiggling.

The Nutcracker is a special holiday tradition for many DC area families.   It is easy to see why.  Having experienced the magic of The Nutcrackers once it is difficult not to want to go back to experience it again.

Good to Know:

  • The Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker is performed at the Warner Theatre
  • Tickets start at only $36 and Super Value Pricing* (No ticket price higher than $54) is available for select evening performances.
  • The Nutcracker runs through December 29th.
  • The Nutcracker runs approximately two hours, including an intermission.
  • Consider making a day of going to The Nutcracker. The iconic Old Ebbitt Grill and Willard Intercontinental are just a few blocks away
  • Attire at the performance I saw including everything from jeans to elaborate holiday dresses.
  • Concessions including candy, cheese boxes, popcorn, alcohol ,Shirley Temples, and more are available for purchase. No outside food or drink is  permitted inside.
  • We recommend taking metro or booking a parking spot in advance through Parking Panda or a similar app.



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