Preview: The Nutcracker by Sac Ballet

Sacramento Ballet’s The Nutcracker; various days and times beginning Saturday, December 23; $30-$89 (shows with live orchestra), $25-$74 (shows with recorded music). Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street. (916) 552-5810,

For many Sacramentans, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker.

Choreographed to Tchaikovsky’s music, The Nutcracker tells the story of young Clara and her magical journey to exciting lands, led by a living doll—a nutcracker gift that comes to life. She sees sprites and cherubs, prancing reindeer in the Snowflake Forest and the wonderful Sugar Plum Fairy in the Land of Sweets. This year’s production, which begins Saturday and continues through December 23, is the 30th installment of the holiday tradition. With the replacement at the end of the current season of co-artistic director Cunningham and his co-artistic partner Carinne Binda Cunningham, it was speculated that this could be the last run of the Cunninghams’ creation.

Not to worry.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the end of my Nutcracker,” Cunningham said in a recent interview. “The board (Sacramento Ballet Board of Directors) and Amy (Seiwert, the artistic director-in-waiting) want to (continue to) do it.”

There is a “loose agreement” with the company to license his ballet and an agreement that could run for 10 years, he said, giving the ballet company “the last call on details of who will stage it and how it is being staged.”