Little lambs and rats return to “The Nutcracker”


DAYTON — Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) and Altafiber present Dayton Ballet’s beloved holiday tradition, “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 16-18, at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now. For tickets, call 937-228-3630 or visit

Dayton Ballet celebrates the return of little lambs and small rats after COVID-19 protocols have lessened, allowing children under 12 to audition for younger roles absent from the 2021 production. Performed to live orchestra accompaniment by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” has become a treasured tradition for generations of families in the Miami Valley. More than 100 school-age children perform in the 2022 production from school districts and ballet studios around the community.

“It is wonderful to have the young dancers participate again,” said Karen Russo Burke, DPAA’s Dayton Ballet artistic director. “They bring so much energy and anticipation to the production. I love watching them in the studio as they watch our professional dancers. I remember that so very well when I was a young dancer in “The Nutcracker.” It was exciting to watch and rehearse with the professionals in the studio. Performing in “The Nutcracker” is a special opportunity that makes lasting memories!”

The role of Clara is split between two young dancers, Lila Malcolm and Alana Piroch. Both dancers study at Dayton Ballet School and are members of Dayton Ballet’s pre-professional program, DBII, Junior Company.

Many activities surround the two weekends of performances, including shopping at Dayton Ballet’s Nutcracker Boutique, intricately decorated pointe shoe sales by Dayton Ballet School’s Parent Association, plus Talk Backs with Karen Russo Burke and select Dayton Ballet company dancers after each performance. Other festive activities include live music performed by Miami University’s Horn Choir on Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.; Stivers’ Jazz Orchestra, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; and the return of the “Muttcracker” featuring animals up for adoption from SICSA, Dec. 10 at 2:30p.m., and 4 Paws for Ability on Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m.

Dayton Ballet’s The Nutcracker is generously sponsored by Altafiber and media partner WHIO- TV; the ballet season continues throughout the 2022-2023 season with the 85th Diamond Anniversary, Feb. 10-12 at the Victoria Theatre and Peter Pan on April 21-23 at the Schuster Center. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday (Nutcracker only) and Sunday matinees starting at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now by phone at 937-228-3630, online at, and in person at the Box Office in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.

For more information about Dayton Ballet’s The Nutcracker and its digital program, visit

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