Everything Nutcracker

#TBT: 6 Pros Reveal Their Cutest Childhood "Nutcracker" Photos

San Francisco Ballet principal Joseph Walsh at age 3 as the tiny green elf in his local Nutcracker. Courtesy Walsh.

Oh, Nutcracker... It's the ballet experience that unites us all, from young student to seasoned pro. Whether you made your entrance in a mouse costume or under Mother Ginger's skirt, do you remember the choreography and costume of your very first role?

Today, six professionals share their favorite childhood Nutcracker photos and memories.


Jared Matthews, Houston Ballet Principal 

Courtesy Matthews

As the one guy at my dance school, I did a lot of the same roles in Nutcracker year after year, such as Arabian—which I'm dancing in this photo at age 15.

From Nutcracker, I learned how to be a partner. Each year, my teachers changed the choreography of my roles, increasing the challenge as I grew older and was ready to try new lifts and steps. It was a formative experience and I loved it.

I was fortunate to have teachers who knew how to push me in the right way. With Nutcracker, they didn't just put on a show to sell tickets to parents. They used it to help us grow technically and artistically. Dancers joke about Nutcracker, but it's a great opportunity to perform and dance classical ballet.

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