Strand Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker” opens on Fri., Dec. 15: Performances include a Christmas Eve matinee

A scene from José Mateo Ballet Theatre Comapny’s The Nutcracker, which opens at the Strand Theatre on Dec. 15-Dec. 24.
Photo by Gary Sloan

Now in its 32nd season, José Mateo Ballet Theatre presents its treasured production of The Nutcracker at two of Boston’s finest theatres this holiday season. In celebration of its 30th consecutive Nutcracker production, the Company returns to The Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston’s Theatre District (Nov.25-December 10) with an extended run of performances and for the 7th season at The Strand Theatre in Dorchester (Dec.15-24) with performances through Christmas Eve.

Both theaters provide the perfect venue for a recently refreshed version of Mateo’s 30th annual production of the holiday extravaganza featuring wondrous sets and costumes newly developed in 2015 by noted scenic designer Laura C. McPherson.

Artistic Director José Mateo honors the tradition of The Nutcracker while giving new life to Clara’s dream world with a fresh innovative interpretation of the iconic holiday classic featuring festive sets, sumptuous costumes, and spectacular dancing. Over 200 children, ages 6-18 from throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, join Ballet Theatre’s skilled company dancers as Clara, Party Children, Mice, Soldiers, Polichinelles, Cherubs, and Angels.

It is the only professional Nutcracker production in the area to hold open auditions for students outside of its own school. The lead child role of Clara is danced this season by five talented young dancers rotating the role in all venues: Shaye Child (13) from East Bridgewater, Alexandra Kellie (13) from Arlington, Amy Chan (17) from Cambridge, Safiyya O’Connor (16) from Cambridge and Ashley Watts (18) from Wellesley.

Dorchester performers include: Roberta Owens-Pearl, 11; Mianna Perrin, 10; Danay Almond, 11; Analese Gonzalez, 10; Xhamani Huertas, 6; Troy Corea, 6; Lillyrose Lubangi, 6; Jamarah Banks, 12; Ynez Corea, 9; Nia-Belle Henry, 9; Eva Germain, 8; Claudia Hernandez, 10; Amelia Brown, 8; Leslie Washington, 13; Jenae Stevens, 12; and from Mattapan, Angelina Valentine, 11; Janelly Sanchez, 8; and Ava Valentine, 8.

In keeping with its long-term vision to provide dance opportunities to all in the Boston area, JMBT’s Young Dancers Program is now in its third year at its recently launched Dorchester Studio at the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 14 Cushing Ave. Due to the success of the Dorchester studio, this year’s Nutcracker has more children from the Dorchester area in the production than ever before with over 30 local dancers.

With classes for children ages 3-9, the Dorchester Studio will grow in future years to offer classes for students of all ages. Classes are open to boys and girls of all backgrounds. No dance experience is necessary. Go to ballettheatre.org for more info.

The Strand Theatre shows include: Fri., Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 16 at 2 and 7p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17 at 1:30 & 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 23 at 2 and 7p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

The Strand Theatre is located at 543 Columbia Rd., Dorchester. Call 617-354-7467 or go to ballettheatre.org for tickets.

Founded in 1986, José Mateo Ballet Theatre is one of America’s leading producers of new ballets, the area’s most innovative ballet school, and the creator of Dance for World Community™, an initiative that builds community by expanding the role of dance in our culture. Over the past 30-plus years Cuban-born Founder/Artistic Director José Mateo has developed his unique vision to create a new model for an inclusive and socially responsible ballet organization that engages today’s diverse audiences.