SACRAMENTO - It's the opening weekend this weekend for one of Sacramento's cherished holiday traditions, the Nutcracker production.
The Sacramento Ballet is leaping and turning into Christmas, perfecting their performances ahead of Nutcracker opening night.
"It's night and day when you're performing for an empty house," said Colby Damon, the children's rehearsal director for Sacramento Ballet. "It's like a rehearsal but once the people really show up, that's why you're doing it."
The Sacramento Ballet's professional company and over 200 local Sacramento youth performers will be taking the stage.
They've been preparing since October — and for the next three weeks, they'll get to share young Clara's timeless Christmas tale.
"This is about her story and our Clara's this year have done an incredible job of getting into character and if you really watch them, they will really take you on a journey," Damon said.
Much of the cast grew up dancing different roles in this show.
Joseph Dang, 20, who plays the Nutcracker prince, spent 12 years climbing his way up. It's that hard work but that makes the payoff sweeter.
"I love performing even more," Dang said.
These dancers will take the stage from Dec. 9 to Dec. 23 at the Safe Credit Union Performing Arts Center.
They're counting down the hours until they get to hear the familiar sound of applauding audiences.
"We do this because we want to share our art form with other people," Damon said.
Opening night is Saturday at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here.
for more features.