Info about the Nutcracker Experience:
from auditions to casting,  rehearsals,
performing, showtime, and more!

Click PLAY on the video at left to view a video on our Nutcracker tradition at SBDA.

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101 McCray Street, Suite 104 Hollister CA 95023 USA        


San Benito Dance Academy has a rich history of performing a traditional Nutcracker ballet production during the holiday season. This will be our 13th year of creating a memorable and professional performance showcasing our very talented dancers and also a rich collection of costumes. However, we have to transition from the classical stage-venue and get creative as for how to bring this production to the public this year...
During these unprecedented times, we, as many of you, are finding ourselves needing to pivot with the current circumstances. We are visualizing a new version of our tradition.

As dancers, we are flexible and adaptable. The support and joint-efforts of our community will enable us to engage in another level of dance-education. Training our dancers and involving them in a new level of production that jumps off of the stage, we see our traditional Nutcracker scenes being performed and filmed throughout San Benito County at different locations, highlighting the beauty, services, local business, and culture that our county has to offer. Once completed, we will be showing the edited production in a drive-in format, having many showings during the holiday season to create a new tradition for friends and families to share.

So, what is this season going to look like?!

For those of you who have been involved in any of our past 12 Nutcracker productions, the scenes, dances, costumes, and story of the production remain the same (or slightly adapted to accommodate different environments and ensure safety in execution of dances). However, due to our current circumstances and the continual need to pivot to navigate our times, we are unable to hold the finished theater/stage-production indoors. So, THIS is currently the timeline for this season ahead...
1. Sept. 25-26: Auditions
2. Casting: first week in October
3. Rehearsals & Filming:
* October-early December; each scene will be rehearsed in small cohort groups (casted by level/section) in appropriately-distanced spaces and according to all health guidance and precautions to keep our dancers and their families in our community safe and healthy.
* As the dances/scenes are taught and rehearsed, they will be filmed one at a time in various locations around our community, to partner with and feature/promote local businesses while we dance classical, traditional Nutcracker variations.
* This means that there is usually only a week's time between when the dance is taught, polished, and filmed!
* (At the time of auditions, you will be able to take a look at the tentative skeleton-scheduling that we are going to be trying to work with the proposed/desired businesses/filming locations to coordinate filming.)
4. Editing & Production:
Footage of our dancers and actors will be edited into a grand production featuring businesses and gorgeous landscape and scenery around San Benito County.
5. Big show premiere: at a drive-in venue in Hollister, in December!

Basically, we will be filming each scene, embellished with sets and decorations appropriate for each "taste" of Clara's dream-travels around the world... all within San Benito County! Local businesses, families, and dancers will NOT want to miss this opportunity to be a part of something BIG... showcasing the technical dance talent all the while featuring local businesses and the area we are blessed to call home.

How YOU can be involved...
(there is truly something for EVERYONE!)

We would like to offer an opportunity for families and businesses to be a part of the first annual filming and production of SBDA’s The Nutcracker in San Benito County. We see this as a chance for us all to come together and bring our community out stronger on the other side of all the challenges that we have faced this year, and for a tradition to be upheld, albeit reinvented, and then continued for years to come, creating a fun and traditional event for families! There are a multitude of ways that you can get involved in this exciting event:

▪ Make a Tax-Deductible Donation towards our non-profit foundation, to support dancers who want to participate in this production, as well as projects and purchase of supplies for the season/event.
▪ Volunteer the use of your amazing space (family-owned or business locale) for filming.(The Director will consider what scenes fit best, for dancing and production purposes)
▪ Contribute props or decor for the set-design of various scenes.
▪ Make a monetary donation towards covering the cost of supplies and to aid in production costs.
View more details and express specific desires to sponsor by submitting responses to THIS FORM:

Advertising for Businesses or Personal purposes:
▪ Digital Program: personal or business ads will be inserted in a digitally-accessible program for access during and after shows, with an audience of thousands in attendance or viewing our program online/digitally!
▪ On the Big-Screen: played before the shows or during intermission at all drive-in showings (available on a limited basis due to time constraints, so get your requests in ASAP!)
View more details and submit your content by filling out THIS FORM:

Volunteers are an integral part of the success of the entire production of the show. There is an amazing amount of talent among our families and in our community. We are looking to fill the necessary positions that enable us to pull this new sort of production together!
1. Costume Fittings/Tailoring (various projects throughout the season): there are a multitude of time-specific jobs--from taking measurements at auditions, to tailoring costumes or sewing modifications/new ones. Some prop-making might be entailed.
2. Projects & Supplies: times to work on these projects may be flexible; see individual tasks for details. Due dates/deadlines may apply for certain specific jobs. Supplies can be brought to the studio at any time, unless a deadline is otherwise indicated.
3. Liaison/Site Coordination and Set Design & Decor (see sign up for individual scenes and needs)
4. Filming: from hauling sets and decor, to set up and supervision/directing dancers as they arrive on-location... many hands make light work!
5. Show Days at the Drive In (Dec. 18-23): Volunteer positions including ushering/parking attendant, ticket sales, merchandise and concessions staffing/sales.
6. Baking: from auditions to weekends for enjoyment during rehearsals/filming, to the show premiere at the drive-in!
You may sign up for more than one job/time slot.
If you have a dancer in the production and you volunteer for a job, the $50 Participation Fee is waived. Consult the schedules for Auditions, Costume Fittings, Rehearsals & Filming days/times, as well as Performance/Show Days to know when might be most convenient to volunteer.
You may sign up for volunteer positions by accessing the volunteer sign up lists via this link.

Any other easy ways to support?
YES! Share
this letter with friends, family, and business owners in our community, to encourage and promote involvement outside just SBDA and into our community!
Link to Community Letter (share digitally, print, distribute!)

ALSO, tell all your friends and family to attend our drive-in showings of the finished product, in December!
Thank you for your interest in supporting the performing arts, dance education, and local business.


The second act opens as angels escort Clara further into her dream state...

2020: How we are pivoting to keep tradition alive

Copyright © San Benito Dance Academy  |  All Rights Reserved

The Arabian Dance

The Waltz of the Flowers

The Send-Off

Clara and her Prince reflect on their fantastical journey and all they have seen, and are presented with one last dance by Sugar Plum Fairy and the International Court, and then is sent off in the sleigh with Drosselmeyer.

The Russian Dance

Dance of the Shepherdess

The Land of Snow

Drosselmeyer magically reappears and changes the Nutcracker into a Prince and whisks Clara off in a sleigh, on a journey to the Land of Snow,  an enchanted forest wonderland where they are welcomed by dancing snowflakes.

The Land of Sweets

The Sugar Plum Fairy appears and escorts Clara to the Land of Sweets, where she is greeted by dancing candies. Then the Prince and Clara are received by an International Court, where they tell of their daring battle with the army of mice, and are rewarded with a celebration of fantastic international dances:

The Spanish Dance

The Chinese Dance

The Battle Scene

As the clock strikes midnight strange things begin to happen.  Clara begins shrinking as her beautiful Christmas tree grows high above her.  The toys around the tree come to life while the room fills with an army of mice, lead by the fierce Mouse Queen.  The Nutcracker leads his army of toy soldiers into battle with the mice.  The Mouse Queen has an epic fight with the Nutcracker one-on-one. The Nutcracker seems to be no match for the Mouse Queen. The Nutcracker and his army can go on no longer and are captured by the mice and their Queen.  Clara makes a final daring charge throwing her slipper at the Mouse Queen.  The Nutcracker rises and stabs the Mouse Queen.  She drops to the floor and the mice run away, carrying off their leader's lifeless body. The Nutcracker gives Clara her shoe back, and soothes her fears, as he dances her worries away, guiding her into a new world.

The Party Scene

It is Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house- - A large and grand house with the most beautiful tree imaginable.  The Stahlbaums are hosting their annual Christmas party, welcoming the arrival of their family and friends. The children, Clara and Fritz, are dancing and playing as they welcome their friends too.

The party grows festive with music and dance as relative Drosselmeyer arrives. Drosselmeyer is an amazing toy-maker and world-traveler, and always full of magical surprises, especially when returning from a voyage. Drosselmeyer draws everyone's attention as life-sized dolls are presented. They are the delight of the party, each taking a turn to dance.

The children begin to open gifts when Drosselmeyer presents one to Clara, a beautiful Nutcracker that becomes the hit of the party.  Although the gift to Fritz is quite nice, Clara is given the beautiful Nutcracker. Fritz becomes jealous, and having a bit more spunk than a boy should have, grabs the nutcracker from Clara and promptly breaks it. Clara is heartbroken looking on as Drosselmeyer quickly repairs the Nutcracker with a handkerchief he magically draws from the air.

As the evening grows late, the guest depart and the Stahlbaum family retires for the evening. Clara, worried about her beloved Nutcracker, sneaks back to the tree to check on him, falling asleep with him in her arms.

 The Nutcracker Story

Our Tradition

This year marks our 13th Nutcracker season. Come be a part of it as we pivot and adjust to our times, but still offer our community dance education and a fun family experience, throughout the whole process! It has been a great enrichment to our holiday season. There is something for everyone! We have a cast from ages two to adult. We have been told that the experience is unforgettable! Join us in the tradition of The Nutcracker!

Want to know more about the experience?

Keeping the tradition alive!


The Nutcracker