Everything Nutcracker

Sascha Radetsky Stars in Hallmark's Latest Holiday Movie

Sascha Radetsky and Amy Acker in A Nutcracker Christmas. Photo by Christos Kalohoridis, Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC

Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, with their delightfully cheesy plots and predictable fairy tale endings, are pretty much the ultimate guilty pleasure. But this year there's an extra reason to cozy up in front of the TV in your pajamas, popcorn in hand. The latest Hallmark original movie, A Nutcracker Christmas, is all about ballet, complete with a cast of talented dancers.

The story centers on Lily, a former ballerina who thought she'd left the dance world behind long ago. She comes face-to-face with ballet again when her niece, Sadie, is cast in The Nutcracker. And Sadie's director just happens to be Lily's ex-boyfriend from her dance days, Mark.

The best part of all this? Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Sascha Radetsky, who's already proven he has acting chops in Center Stage and Starz's "Flesh and Bone," plays Mark. Sadie is played by young up-and-comer Sophia Lucia. In other words, we are hopefully in for some pretty great Nutcracker-themed dance sequences. From the looks of the preview, we just might be in luck.


The movie premieres tomorrow, December 10, at 8:00 pm EST. But if you miss it the first time, no worries—there are plenty of other showings throughout the month. Until then, check out the preview below, and a behind-the-scenes clip with the cast here.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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