Inside look at SF Ballet's 'Nutcracker'

SAN FRANCISCO

Audiences will soon be able to marvel at the fluttering snowflakes, frolicking flowers, the heroic Nutcracker prince and, of course, his Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Nutcracker is not only an annual staple and primary source of ticket revenue for ballet companies around the world, it's often the very first large production young dancers learn and perform.

It's a very special time of the year; this is how I began, this is how they're beginning," principal dancer Vanessa Zahorian said.

Zahorian has been with San Francisco Ballet since 1997. She's been dancing Sugar Plum ever since.

"Every time it's a new beginning; I say that because i find something new in the role," she said.

The idea of attending a performance might feel a bit intimidating for some.

"I would say to people not familiar with ballet, you don't have to understand what we call technique," San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson said. "It's a dance. Everybody loves to dance."

The San Francisco Ballet was the first American company to stage the Nutcracker in 1944.

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