ShareThis Page

'The Nutcracker': Looking back at a Christmas tradition

| Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, 10:19 a.m.
Dancers playing the Snowflakes in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker wait for the start of the Snow Scene in the wings of the Benedum Center during Dress Rehearsal, downtown, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dancers playing the Snowflakes in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker wait for the start of the Snow Scene in the wings of the Benedum Center during Dress Rehearsal, downtown, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane places her tiara for her role as the Snow Queen before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, Downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane places her tiara for her role as the Snow Queen before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, Downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre pre-professional student, Sean Sullivan waits to rehearse with stilts on during of the rehearsal of The Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre pre-professional student, Sean Sullivan waits to rehearse with stilts on during of the rehearsal of The Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Julia Erickson fixes her wig as Mrs. Stahlbaum  before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Julia Erickson fixes her wig as Mrs. Stahlbaum before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, Terrence Orr, talks to a group of student dancers during rehearsal of the Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, Terrence Orr, talks to a group of student dancers during rehearsal of the Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member Danielle Downey fixes her wig for her role as Grandmother before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member Danielle Downey fixes her wig for her role as Grandmother before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member, Joseph Parr puts on the makeup to play Grandfather in the Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member, Joseph Parr puts on the makeup to play Grandfather in the Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Hannah Carter stretches before the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Hannah Carter stretches before the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
A row of Pointe Shoes sits at the ready for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
A row of Pointe Shoes sits at the ready for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre students, Olive Cooney, 8, of  Millvale (left) and Annie Mohn, 9, of Fox Chapel joke with each other during rehearsal of  the Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre students, Olive Cooney, 8, of Millvale (left) and Annie Mohn, 9, of Fox Chapel joke with each other during rehearsal of the Nutcracker, at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member, Diana Yohe costumed as Aunt Gertrude smiles from the wings Benedum Center during Tech Rehearsal for The Nutcracker, downtown, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member, Diana Yohe costumed as Aunt Gertrude smiles from the wings Benedum Center during Tech Rehearsal for The Nutcracker, downtown, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member JoAnna Schmidt prepares for the show before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Corps de Ballet member JoAnna Schmidt prepares for the show before Tech Rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center , downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating it's 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
A dancer rehearses before going on stage during Tech Rehearsal for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, Downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
A dancer rehearses before going on stage during Tech Rehearsal for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center, Downtown, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The ballet, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs through Dec. 27.

Last year Tribune-Review staff photojournalist Andrew Russell got a behind the scenes look at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's “The Nutcracker” at the Benedum Center.

Over the years, “The Nutcracker” has become a Christmas tradition. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Terrence Orr credits this partly to the depth of Tchaikovsky's music.

Orr tries to mirror that depth while still attempting to keep the performance fresh by updating each show.

Aside from keeping audiences coming back, he tries to keep the show engaging for the cast. With 150 dancers, 210 costumes and 26 performances each year, dancers have the opportunity to perform two or three parts each year.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.