As the holiday season approaches, that means it’s time for Dallas Repertoire Ballet’s annual production of the beloved family classic, The Nutcracker, which will be performed December 13-15, 2019 at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

Year after year, audiences have joined Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they fight the Mouse King and his army, dance with sparkling snowflakes and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in the enticing Kingdom of Sweets. This year marks Dallas Repertoire Ballet’s 27 th year of presenting this timeless storybook ballet which features critically-acclaimed choreography and costumes that rival that of many professional dance companies.

For the third consecutive year, Dallas Repertoire Ballet is again offering a special “sensory-friendly performance” at the 2:00 pm show on Saturday, December 14. This performance is specifically designed for children with sensory processing disorders like autism, Asperger syndrome, Down syndrome and other special needs. “Dance and theater performances aren’t always accessible to families who have children with special needs,” says Kathy Willsey, director of Dallas Repertoire Ballet and owner of its Allen-based affiliated school, Academy of Dance Arts. “We want to give these families who might not normally be able to attend a production of The Nutcracker the chance to do so during the holidays in a safe environment.”

The special performance will have discounted ticket prices and feature special adaptations such as capped/reduced decibel sound, no strobe lights or startling noises, house lights lit at half for the entire performance, “quiet areas” for audience members, plus additional help and guidance from behavioral specialists to assist ushers, security and theatre personnel.

“The sensory-friendly performance has been so well-received since it began two years ago that it wasn’t even a consideration to not produce it again this year,” says Willsey. One parent who attended with her child said that she was “… misty-eyed for most of it. It was just so sweet to see so many kids getting to do something special with their families and I think it was also a great learning experience for the dancers.”

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“We pride ourselves on presenting a family-friendly production that is perfect for younger attention spans,” says Willsey, “The addition of the sensory-friendly production is an extra special way to create a special holiday memory that these families will hold dear for many, many years.”

Dallas Repertoire Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker includes a cast of over 130 dancers from all over the DFW Metroplex. Most company dancers and those from the advanced, and pre-professional levels at Academy of Dance Arts take an average of 17-22 hours of dance instructional training a week. Preparing for The Nutcracker adds an additional 110 hours over a three month time period.

For more information about Dallas Repertoire Ballet/Academy of Dance Arts, visit To reserve tickets for Dallas Repertoire Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, visit or call 972-744-4650.

Aayushi Pramanik

Aayushi Pramanik is a student at Williams College. When not working or studying economics and math, she enjoys dancing, singing, and taking countless photos with her camera.