This year’s production will be performed at the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly, SLO

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — The North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation (NCDPAF) is ready to bring back the Nutcracker Ballet for its 25th Anniversary.

For many, the Nutcracker Performance is a tradition for families and their official start to the holiday season. This year is set to be extra special, considering it’s their silver 25th Anniversary. 

This year’s performance will be held at the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, on Dec. 4 and 5. 


The NCDPAF shared, “The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story ‘The Nutcracker and the King of Mice’ written by E.T.A. Hoffman. Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same; the story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads.  

When Marius Petipa had the idea to choreograph the story into a ballet, it was actually based on a revision by Alexander Dumas, a well-known French author. His version reflects more of what we have come to love as the Nutcracker Ballet.”

Eighty performers, ranging in ages from six to 60, will be dancing at the Spanos Theater at Cal Poly and bringing together dancers from across the county representing Class Act Dance in Paso Robles, Main Street Dance in Templeton, and for the first time, CORE Dance in San Luis Obispo. 

Dancers are looking forward to returning to live in-person performance after having to cancel last year’s performance due to COVID restrictions. Rather than their traditional ballet, performers participated in a worldwide virtual performance of The Nutcracker with the Nutshell production.

According to Suzi Cusimano, NCDPAF Board President, the production had a late start from not knowing if COVID restrictions would allow them to perform. But, when they knew the show would go on, performers began learning their choreography in September. By Oct. 1, the casting was announced. 

This year’s casting includes: 

  • Jaklyn Woodland as Clara
  • Justin Grapentine as the Nutcracker Prince
  • Mylee Kuhn as the Rat Queen
  • Kate Terrizzi as the Snow Queen
  • Katie Kowall as the Spanish Queen
  • Ginger Cusimano as the Arabian Queen
  • Haruka Nishimura as the Russian Queen
  • Julia Steffenauer as the Rose Queen 
  • Alyssa Jenkins as the Sugar Plum Fairy
  • and so many more talented performers!

This year’s Nutcracker performers have been preparing for months for perhaps one of the most anticipated productions of the year. This year’s production of The Nutcracker will include favorite scenes with some new additions.

“We have a lot of younger children this year, so we added another youth scene to the production,” Cusimano explained.

As a tradition, each year for Elegant Evening, performers display themselves as mannequins in full costume in the windows of downtown Paso Robles businesses. The Main Street Association initially canceled this year’s Elegant Evening, but a few businesses still put together some fun for the start of “Nutcracker Season.”

The production’s directors, Cheryle Armstrong, Theresa Comstock, and Molly McKiernan, “hope both new and returning audience members will be inspired by this heartwarming story that has been brought to life for many generations in theatres throughout the world.”

“The families, the kids, the choreographers are all so excited to put on this performance. It being the 25th year is extra special,” Cusimano said. 

For more information on The Nutcracker performance or to purchase tickets, visit