Marat Daukayev School of Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' Returns Dec. 7 at Cal State LA
'The Nutcracker' is a classic, beautiful ballet perfect for the holidays.

This holiday season, the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles is bringing us the famous ballet “The Nutcracker” at the Luckman Theatre at Cal State L.A. The magical experience begins on Dec. 7.

This will be the school's 13th annual show and will feature more than 130 dancers, ages 3 to 21, to take on the roles as party guests, children, evil mice, snowflakes and so much more! This re-staging of the St. Petersburg production reaffirms the Russian roots of this holiday classic.

In case you’re unfamiliar with “The Nutcracker,” here is a basic rundown of what happens: A young girl (usually named Clara or Masha in most versions) is given a beautiful nutcracker for Christmas. When she falls asleep, the nutcracker comes to life and turns into a Prince. Together, Clara and the Prince go on a epic journey, battling evil mice and traveling to a land filled with magic, a Snow Queen, a Sugar Plum Fairy and more! “The Nutcracker” is truly a colorful and mesmerizing production that serves as the perfect theatrical Christmas tradition for the whole family.

There are many versions of “The Nutcracker,” and the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet will be performing a version based on choreography by Vasily Vainonen from the 1934 St. Petersburg production. The students performing in the production have been trained in Vaganova style, which is a Russian ballet method that encourages dancing with the entire body. Expect high jumps, powerful turns and beautiful arm movements in their version of  “The Nutcracker.”

Marat Daukayev is the production’s artistic director, and he will also be starring as Drosselmeyer, the mysterious magician-like figure who gives Clara (or Masha) the nutcracker.

The name “Marat Daukayev” has powerful meaning in ballet history. Daukayev has a 20-year career with the Kirov Ballet, formerly called the Mariinsky Theatre. In fact, “The Nutcracker” first premiered in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Famous dancer Pavel Gerdt created the role of the Prince in the 1892 production, and he taught Vladimir Ponomaryov, who taught Julius Plaxht. This brings us to Daukayev, who was one of Plaxht’s students. With so much history tied to “The Nutcracker,” we can expect wonderful things at this year’s show.

“’The Nutcracker,’ with Tchaikovsky’s exquisite score, is a ballet that holds a lifetime of memories for me. As a youngster, I enjoyed dancing the roles of Party Child and Soldier. As a young man, I was fortunate to dance many performances as the Prince. And now, here I am as Drosselmeyer,” said Daukayev in a prepared statement.

So, grab the family and head over to Luckman Theatre during the holidays. No Christmas is complete without a night out to see "The Nutcracker," and the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet is putting on a show that you'll cherish for years to come.

"The Nutcracker" will have student performances on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec 8 at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. The Gala performances will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. and will include guest stars Marie Kochetkova and Joaquin De Luz.

All performances will take place at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Fine Arts Complex (5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles.)

To purchase tickets, click here.