The Nutcracker

Michelle Mahowald and Chelsea Early, The Nutcracker

Rosalie O'Connor

Each year, Ballet Arizona rings in the season with Ib Andersen’s “The Nutcracker,” when dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers and sparkling snowflakes dance to Tchaikovsky’s score performed by The Phoenix Symphony.

Some facts from this season’s “Nutcracker,” playing through Dec. 24 at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix:

• There are 260 costumes in “The Nutcracker,” requiring more than 6,500 yards of fabric. A tutu alone is made of 12 yards of material and takes 60 hours to produce.

• More than 100,000 Austrian Swarovski crystals make the show’s spectacular Snow Scene sparkle.

• The Mouse King is more than 9 feet tall with his crown.

• During the show’s run, Ballet Arizona’s female dancers will use more than 300 pairs of pointe shoes. Pointe shoes are custom made and cost more than $90 a pair. Most pairs of shoes last one performance.

• The Costume Department will wash about 125 loads of laundry during the run of The Nutcracker.

• The production uses 25 different backdrops.

• A pre-show, including storytelling and photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy beneath Ballet Arizona’s 20-foot Christmas tree, begins 45 minutes before each performance in the Symphony Hall lobby. Hot cocoa and cookies are available for purchase.

Tickets for The Nutcracker start at $26 and are available through Ballet Arizona’s box office at (602) 381-1096 or

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