Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and Fairfax Ballet to Present Tchaikovsky's THE NUTCRACKER at George Mason University Center for the Arts

Don't miss the two performances on Dec. 16 & 17 at George Mason University Center for the Arts.

By: Dec. 01, 2023
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and Fairfax Ballet to Present Tchaikovsky's THE NUTCRACKER at George Mason University Center for the Arts
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Two premier Fairfax County arts institutions-the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) and The Fairfax Ballet Company-collaborate to present their seventh production of the holiday masterpiece, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. This Fairfax production is a cherished, annual tradition, with two performances on Dec. 16 & 17 at 4pm at George Mason University Center for the Arts. The FSO production is unique in the Washington, DC region to feature live, musical accompaniment by a full orchestra, together with dancers on stage. Audiences delight in The Fairfax Ballet's magical dance performance with original choreography with guest soloists from New York City Ballet, as the Fairfax Symphony under the direction Christopher Zimmerman performs Tchaikovsky's captivating score live. This production is one of the most popular concerts on the Fairfax Symphony season schedule.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Fairfax Ballet to bring The Nutcracker to thousands of people of all ages in Fairfax County and across the DC region," said Jonathan Kerr, Executive Director, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. "Our unique production has become a cherished tradition of the season. Audiences delight in the incredible dancers on stage, while Tchaikovsky's unforgettable music is performed live by our orchestra musicians. The dance, live music, plus the stunning, digital scenery creates a winter wonderland in a magical production that's perfect for the entire family."

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and The Fairfax Ballet Company showcase renowned guest soloists from New York City Ballet dancing the lead roles this year. The Fairfax Ballet was established in 1971 to develop in each student a love of dance, a strong technical foundation, and an artistic education. Company dancers, along with students from The Russell School of Ballet and professional guest artists are poised to take the stage with this entertaining classic. Performing with the live orchestra presents a unique opportunity for the young dancers. Karla Petry serves as Executive Director of The Fairfax Ballet and owner of The Russell School of Ballet.

"We're honored to join the Fairfax Symphony for our seventh, annual production of The Nutcracker," said Karla Petry, Executive Director of The Fairfax Ballet and owner of The Russell School of Ballet. "Audiences love this special treat as we welcome our professional guest soloists from premier dance companies together with our local stars! This performance provides an extraordinary learning experience for our Fairfax Ballet Company dancers as a unique opportunity to perform together with a live, professional orchestra on stage at George Mason University's Center for the Arts Concert Hall!

Andrea Cook is Artistic Director for The Fairfax Ballet Company. Ms. Cook leads the choreography in one of the most complex theatrical ballets in the Company's repertory. She is a Fairfax County native and Chantilly HS alum. Her leadership has helped the Company maintain its long-held reputation for high-quality training and service, while building on its performances with new choreography.

More than fifty dancers and students ranging from ages 7-18 from the counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County.

Watch video of The Nutcracker with the Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet:

The Story and Music

Tchaikovsky composed the music in 1816 based on a popular book titled, 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King.' The story begins on Christmas Eve in the home of two young children, Clara and Fritz. The family is gathered around the Christmas tree. Soon, they welcome the arrival of Uncle Drosselmeier, a toymaker bringing gifts, and we begin to see the transition from reality into fantasy with waltzing snowflakes, a handsome prince, and some mischievous mice, as the toys come to life for a night the children will never forget. Tchaikovsky's music is vivid and colorful, stirring the imagination and taking us on a magical journey. From the elegant Waltz of the Flowers, the exotic, Arabian pas de deux, and thrilling Candy Canes and gingerbread dances, the show is a feast of delightful melodies and exciting dance performances. A memorable highlight among audiences takes place in the Land of the Sweets with the unforgettable dance solo of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Priority One Services, The Mather of Tysons, and Hilton Fairfax are Premier FSO Season Sponsors helping to bring the FSO music to thousands of people in our community.



Emily Kikta is a Soloist dancer with New York City Ballet, where she has been a member since 2010. She is a 2019 Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow for women leaders in dance at NYU. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, she has performed featured roles including: George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rubies, Divertimento No 15, Symphony in C, Kammermusik No. 2, Episodes, Raymonda Variations, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Who Cares?, Coppelia (War), Chaconne, the Nutcracker (Sugar Plum, Dewdrop, Coffee), The Four Temperaments, and Western Symphony; Jerome Robbins' The Cage; Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, Copland Trio, and Partita; Alexei Ratmansky's Voices; William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman; Peter's Martin's The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy, Diamond); and she has originated a featured role in Paul McCartney's Ocean's Kingdom, Jamar Robert's Emanon, Kyle Abraham's Love Letter on Shuffle, Pam Tanowitz's Bartok Ballet, Sidra Bell's Suspended Animation and Peter Walker's ten in seven. In 2019, she co-founded her own dance video production company, KW Creative, with Peter Walker, where she serves as a producer, director, choreographer, editor, and performer. Working on both sides of the camera, KW Creative has made films for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theater, Sotheby's International, Porsche, Macallan, James Blake, Fresh Beauty, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles Dance Project, New York Choreographic Institute, New Chamber Ballet, and Ballet Collective. KW Creative was a recipient of a 2020 residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park. Emily has choreographed for American Ballet Theater Studio Company, the School of American Ballet, Columbia University, and Jacob Jonas the Company. Emily completed her Masters in Business Administration from PACE University in 2022 and graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University in 2017 with a Bachelors in Communications


Aarón Sanz was born in Madrid, Spain, and began his dance training at the age of eight at the C.P.D. Carmen Amaya in Madrid. Mr. Sanz began studying at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, during the 2010 summer course and enrolled as a full time student that fall. In 2011, Mr. Sanz became an apprentice with NYCB, and in September of 2012, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. He was promoted to soloist in October 2018. Since joining New York City Ballet he has performed featured roles in George Balanchine's Chaconne, Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, The Four Temperaments, Firebird (Kastchei), Harlequinade (Léandre), Kammermusik No. 2, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lysander, Theseus, Titania's Cavalier), George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Cavalier, Mother Ginger, Mouse King), Orpheus, Prodigal Son (Father), Serenade, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, La Sonnambula (The Baron), Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Swan Lake, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, La Valse, Vienna Waltzes, and Western Symphony; William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman; Peter Martins' Barber Violin Concerto, Fearful Symmetries, Hallelujah Junction, Jeu de Cartes, Romeo + Juliet (Benvolio, Friar Lawrence), Swan Lake (Spanish), and The Sleeping Beauty (Gold); Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition; Jerome Robbins' Brandenburg, Dances at a Gathering, Fanfare (Double Bass), The Four Seasons (Summer, Fall), The Goldberg Variations, and Piano Pieces


Founded in 1957, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has played a central role in Fairfax County's cultural and civic life for more than 65 years. Under the direction of conductor and Music Director Christopher Zimmerman, the FSO has earned recognition as one of the nation's premier regional orchestras. Praised by The Washington Post as "a crown jewel of the cultural landscape," the FSO enriches the lives of more than 18,000 people each season through a series of masterworks and pops concerts, an annual production of the Nutcracker with the Fairfax Ballet, and innovative, education programs serving Title 1 Schools throughout our community. With a roster comprising nearly 80 professional musicians, one third of whom have served, or currently serve, in the nation's prestigious United States military bands, the FSO showcases exceptional talent. Under the leadership of Executive Director Jonathan Kerr, the FSO has deepened its dedication to fostering community collaborations, while serving as an invaluable cultural resource and artistic ambassador for our region.


The Fairfax Ballet, a 501(c)(3) non-profit performing arts organization, was established more than 50 years ago to develop in each student a love of dance, a strong technical foundation, and an artistic education. As one of the longest-running ballet companies in Northern Virginia, The Fairfax Ballet has trained exceptional dancers, who have gone on to study and perform at some of the finest ballet companies, including the New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Basel Ballet, and Monte Carlo Ballet. Andrea Cook is the Artistic Director and Karla Petry serves as Executive Director.