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'Nutcracker ushers in the holidays
Gainesville Ballet enters its 30th year of the annual production
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"The Nutcracker" will be performed by the Gainesville Ballet Company this weekend at Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University. This is the 30th year of the holiday classic's production by the ballet company. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

'The Nutcracker'

Gainesville Ballet performance

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2-3, 2 p.m. Dec. 3-4

Where: Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University campus

Tickets: $10-$24, on sale at box office and will call

Contact: 770-532-4241

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It's that time of year again. Time to get out the mittens, trim the tree and sip hot cider.

But it isn't quite Christmas until you've seen the Gainesville Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker," now in its 30th year.

"I really feel like this production starts the Christmas season in Gainesville," said Diane Callahan, artistic director of the Gainesville Ballet Company.

Callahan has made a few artistic changes to this weekend's traditional performance, mostly with the first act.

"I've added more dances and even a few more songs and composers," Callahan said.

The "littlest angels" in the second act involve 28 children who are double cast, meaning they alternate performances from one night to the next. So no one performance is ever exactly the same.

This year's production also will include five guest performers assisting in a professional capacity, including recent Brenau graduate and former Gainesville Ballet dancer Brelin Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who teaches dance in Atlanta, is one of the sugar plum fairies.

Callahan says she is expecting a good turnout, possibly even a sold-out venue this year, which she says the company really needs since "money has been tight."

Even if you've never seen "The Nutcracker," visions of Christmas will dance in your head long after you've left the theater.

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