Stevens Point Nutcracker Ballet Has Unique Twist


Nutcracker Ballet Set in Present-Day

by Molly Schecklman – The Nutcracker ballet is often seen by some as a staple for the holiday season. However, the UWSP jazz ensemble, with collaboration from local dance and theater groups, have a different version they like to share around the holiday season.

“Our version of the ballet is set in present time at a family-themed holiday party of ‘Wear Something Sparkly,’” said Pam Luedtke, co-director of the production. “The story unfolds with Clara’s journey of obsessive texting and the balance of her being reminded of her youth when she receives the gift of the Nutcracker from her Grandfather, Dresemeyer. Her Dream unfolds at the toy store, Gepetto’s. Fairytales and imaginative stories take place and she awakes to reflect on the joys of youth.”

The production involves over 150 cast members and complete community involvement to make the theatrical experience one to remember. “The friendships that evolve throughout the event preparation are priceless,” said Luedtke.

This will be the third performance of The Nutcracker – Jazzed Up. The first performance took place in 2013 with the production happening bi-annually after that. Planning for this year’s production began last spring with the rehearsals starting in the summer.

“The Nutcracker – Jazzed Up is an enjoyable, family, holiday performance and great for every age. The imaginative story is revealed through many expansive art forms: juggling, hip-hop, ballet, jazz, aerial dance, social dance, modern dance, and even belly dance,” said Luedtke.

The production also serves as a fundraiser for the Arts and Culture Mission Fund at the Community Foundation. This organization offers support for local artists, art education, public art performances, and CREATE Portage County.

The Nutcracker – Jazzed Up will be performed on November 11 at 7:30 p.m. and November 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased online at or by calling 715-498-2339.