This post was written in 2014, so some information may be out-of-date. Please be sure to check their website for the latest event details.
As a child, my absolute favorite holiday tradition was my families’ annual trip to see the Nutcracker. I loved getting dressed up in my finest holiday attire, I loved seeing all of the beautiful costumes, and I really loved watching the amazing dancers perform. Now I’m sure my brother would not rank this family tradition nearly as high on the fun scale as I do, but for me and my three sisters (yes, I’m one of five kids!) it was one of our most memorable traditions.
Ballet itself was actually a big part of my life. I danced from the age of three until I reached high school and, while I wasn’t a very talented dancer, I absolutely loved everything about this beautiful form of art.
There were a few years that I actually got a chance to perform in the Nutcracker (very small roles, of course) and that was just a dream come true. But getting the chance to go to the Nutcracker and see the production was definitely a treat year after year.
So when I had a little girl and that little girl started to love ballet as much as I do, I was beyond thrilled.
I signed her up for dance class as soon as she turned 2 1/2 and counted down the days until she and I could attend our first ballet performance.
Well the day finally arrived and this past Sunday when Sparkles and I (along with some wonderful friends) attended the Nutcracker for the first time! We went to the Sunday afternoon, 2:oo pm performance at the Hartt School located at the University of Hartford.
My good friend’s daughter actually takes ballet classes through The Hartt School so she had the inside scoop on the performance and was able to lock in tickets for us for Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness she was on top of getting those tickets, because the afternoon performance seems to be one of their most popular options and sold out quickly.
The ballet was held in the school’s Millard Auditorium which was a 400 + seat venue located in the center of campus. The auditorium was nestled between several other buildings, so it didn’t stick out right away but, with the help of the signage located throughout campus, we quickly found the building and easily found parking nearby.
We arrived about 15 minutes before the show was scheduled to begin, so we hung out in the lobby and took a look around.
There were a lot of food and beverage options available for sale both before the show and during intermission. The nice thing was that they offered some fairly healthy snack options and most items were just $1 (bring cash).
They also had a few tables loaded with souvenirs including the star of the show, the Nutcracker! Sparkles had a bit of a meltdown when she realized I wasn’t gong to buy her a Nutcracker during our visit, so that was a bit of a scene 🙂 But eventually she decided to add the Nutcracker to her ever growing Christmas list when we got home and all was right with the world again.
Inside the auditorium, we found our seats (assigned seating) and settled in for the performance. As I mentioned before, the auditorium is fairly small (428 seats) so there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
Look at these cute girls getting ready for their first Nutcracker!
The performance itself was beautifully done. The set designs, costumes, and choreography were some of the best I’ve seen for a local production. I later read that many of the set features were brand new this year having been designed by The Hartt School’s scenic artist, Paula Bleck.
The first Act lasted a little over an hour followed by a 15 minute intermission where we had time to use the restroom and grab a snack and a drink. The second Act was under an hour long.
Sparkles did really well during the whole first Act and for most of the second. She couldn’t see the stage completely from her seat, so she sat on my lap for most of the performance and I could tell that she was becoming quite antsy as the Nutcracker neared the end. I was pretty proud of her for making it so far, though. Sitting for two hours is tough for a three year old!
The performance was perfect for her, though. The whole venue was family-friendly, the dancing and production was thoroughly entertaining, and we all just had a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to making this a holiday tradition for my family for many years to come!
Box Office: (860) 768-4228
You can also find them on Facebook.
Performance Dates and Hours:
Remaining for 2014:
- Friday, December 19, 2014, 7:30 pm
- Saturday, December 20, 2014, 7:30 pm
- Sunday, December 21, 2014, 2:00 pm
They are also performing a “Nutty Nutcracker” on the following dates:
- $30 Adults
- $20 Seniors
- $20 Students
- $15 Children 12 and under
***There are no University of Hartford or Let’s Go Discounts available for this performance***
- Restroom: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: NO.
- Parking: YES. Parking is free and located next to the building.
- Food for Sale: YES. Before the show began and at intermission, there was food for sale in the waiting area. Most of the food and drink items for sale were $1. There were no hot beverages for sale at the event.
- Cash Required: YES. Cash is needed for snack, drink, or souvenir purchases.
- Dress Code: Nothing specific, but many people were dressed up for the event.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- Discounts: NO.
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