The classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker, has entertained and moved audiences for decades. For some, catching a yearly performance is tradition… for others, a special treat. No matter how many times you’ve seen The Nutcracker, you’ve never seen it performed like it will be at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium from Dec. 16-24th.

The Carolina Ballet’s new production of this timeless piece features grand-scale illusions where toys come to life, children shrink, and dancers appear out of thin air and levitate high above the stage. Magicians bring mystery and intrigue to the stage as a cast of more than 100 perform to the accompanying live orchestra. Beyond the new magic and lavish new scenery, there’s also the impact of a new teacher.

Olga Kostritzky, the Russian-trained ballet mistress who has shaped a generation of American dancers, is now shaping the Carolina Ballet for this year’s new Nutcracker. So talented that she was selected to train Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan and so inspiring that she received a front-page feature on CNN, Kostritzky is reason in and of herself to come witness this ballet.

At every show, there will be a special celebrity guest that joins the cast during the performance and will be present for special photo opportunities during intermission. Even Santa Claus will stop by for a special appearance on Christmas Eve. Tickets for this dazzling event are $30-$100. Secure your seats before they magically disappear.