Our Family Tradition: Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker

Ballet San Antonio's The Nutcracker at the Tobin Center | Alamo City Moms Blog
Photo: Alexander Devora

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. As always, we use our discretion in publishing sponsored content to ensure the businesses, products and opportunities promoted will be of interest to our readers. Ballet San Antonio is part of our local arts community that we are passionate about supporting. We are very excited about their upcoming performance of The Nutcracker.

One of our favorite family traditions at the holidays is seeing Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker with the San Antonio Symphony. This year, for the first time, San Antonio families can experience The Nutcracker at the new Tobin Center. As you learn more about Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker at the Tobin Center, I think you’ll want to take your whole family to see it, too.

As I mentioned before in my post about holiday arts and cultural activities for families, I want my kids to grow up with a full range of cultural experiences and with a deep appreciation for the arts. I also want to choose activities that will support the local arts community in San Antonio. Courtney Mauro Barker, President and Executive Director of Ballet San Antonio, explains it:

Every dollar spent on tickets to Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker is an investment in the arts in our city: in dance, in live music, and in children’s education in the arts.

This year, just as it happened in 2013, two touring productions of The Nutcracker will also visit San Antonio. The touring productions feature talented dancers, but San Antonio is just a stop along their way. Also, the touring shows use recorded music. When dancers are performing to live music, Barker says, “they feed off the live orchestra. You can see it in their dancing.”

Ballet San Antonio is committed to arts education. This year, on December 4–5, there will be two special youth performances of The Nutcracker just for students. All the tickets are deeply discounted, and 1,000 tickets are being given free to students at Title 1 schools. “For many of these underserved youth, The Nutcracker may be their first time in a theater, experiencing a live performance,” says Barker.

Ballet San Antonio's The Nutcracker | Alamo  City Moms Blog
Photo: Alexander Devora

In addition to performing for children, Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker includes over 160 children in its cast. I talked to Texas Public Radio’s Nathan Cone, whose daughter, Samantha Cone, is in the children’s cast again this year. Samantha was an Angel in 2013; this year, she gets to be both a Mouse and an Angel. “As parents, we are happy that she will be an Angel, too, because the Mice wear masks, and it’s hard to tell which one is your kid on stage,” says Cone.

Samantha studies ballet year-round at the Ballet Arts School. In August, she auditioned to be part of the children’s cast of The Nutcracker. The children’s cast has rehearsals at least once a week under the patient and watchful eye of Children’s Director Sally Simmons.

Ballet San Antonio Nutcracker children's cast | Alamo City Moms Blog
Photo: Alexander Devora

How does Samantha feel about being in The Nutcracker? “She loves it,” says Cone. “It’s great for her to get to work with professional dancers.” At home, she rehearses her own movements and also those of the older cast members; she hopes to be a Soldier next year. She is learning not only from the professional dancers but also from the older children.

Cone adds, “Studying ballet is a valuable physical activity, and it’s also good for building emotional discipline.” As Samantha studies ballet, she aspires to learn more. No wonder ballet is her favorite extracurricular activity.

Ballet San Antonio children's cast rehearsal | Alamo City Moms Blog

My kids and I went to Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker last year, when it was at the Majestic Theatre. My son had lots to say about it; the battle between good and evil—the Mouse King, and lots of little mice, against the valiant Nutcracker—really captured his imagination. My daughter was enchanted with the Land of the Sweets, a world tour of dance with feats of agility and vivid costumes. The dancing, costumes, and sets hold the kids’ interest while they soak in the beautiful music. The Nutcracker is a live theater experience that the whole family can enjoy together.

This year, with the move to the Tobin Center‘s H-E-B Performance Hall, Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker will be better than ever. According to San Antonio Symphony Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto, the Tobin has a larger orchestra pit than the Majestic, so the Symphony will be playing the Nutcracker score with a full orchestra. Fujimoto says that having more instrumentation will create a “more lush, fuller sound.” Barker confirms that the same classic sets will be back; the costumes will be back, too, after a trip through the shop to be refreshed.

Inside the Tobin Center's performance hall | Alamo City Moms Blog

Have you been to a performance at the Tobin Center yet? I went on a tour while learning about another Tobin Center resident company, OPERA San Antonio; also, the Symphony invited me to hear their celebration concert with Reneé Fleming. The Tobin Center has high-tech acoustics and it’s beautiful to look at, inside and out.

Tobin Center veil at night | Alamo City Moms Blog


The Tobin Center is located on the San Antonio Riverwalk, so you can enjoy the holiday lights along with your Nutcracker experience.

Here is the schedule for Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker:

  • Friday, November 28, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.
  • Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.
  • Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.
  • Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 7:00 P.M.
  • Friday, December 5, 2014 at 7:00 P.M.
  • Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.
  • Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 2:00 P.M.

My family bought our tickets online. To buy tickets by phone, call the Tobin Center Box Office at 210-223-8624; the phone lines are open Monday–Saturday from 8:00 A.M.–8:00 P.M. and Sunday from 8:00 A.M.–7:00 P.M. To buy tickets in person, go downtown to 100 Auditorium Circle (map); the box office is open Monday–Friday from 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M. and Saturday from 10:00 A.M.–2:00 P.M. and for one hour prior to curtain.

Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker with the San Antonio Symphony, in their new home at the Tobin Center, is the truly local Nutcracker. Buying tickets to this production is an investment in local performers and in your children’s education in the arts. I hope you make it a holiday tradition in your family, too.

Inga is passionate about parent-driven education: helping parents be the best advocates for their children, finding the right schools (or homeschooling resources), and enjoying San Antonio's variety of arts and cultural events for families. She was born in California but has called Texas home since high school. She works part time as a lawyer and also blogs at San Antonio Charter Moms. Her eight-year-old son, F.T., and five-year-old daughter, G.N., attend a public charter school in the heart of the city. She married a techie and is a bit of a geek herself.


  1. Wow,these kids are so lucky to be involved in a opportunity like this,how wonderful is that!! My son LOVES the Nutcracker!
    Every time we pass by a actual Nutcracker soldier at Hobby Lobby,Michaels or CVS even his face just lights up even at 13 years old.CVS actually had a beautiful one on the 15th and we were so impressed with how beautiful it was,I may just get it for him.
    Although untypical for a boy child perhaps my son faithfully watches the ballet on Netflix or video every year or watches a animated version but has never gotten a chance to actually see it live unfortunately..I really would love to take him this year.I think that his love of ballet may actually stem from his obsession with the Disney film Fantasia as a boy.My son took a lot of comfort as a really young boy/toddler and still does in old Mickey Mouse cartoons,silent film as well.
    My guess is that he is very drawn to the story that the music tells and the feeling the story is given from the score is something that he feels to the core.I know this because often he will be moved to years from songs,because he says the music is “so beautiful” or “sad and making him cry.” He is very in sync when it comes to instrumentals. We showed him Dracula in October and it was wonderful and we all loved it,the sound,the choreography & the costumes. They did a great job with everything.I just know he would love the opportunity to see The Nutcracker this year.Hopefully we will! 🙂

  2. I’m so excited we are taking my girls for the first time this year. I know my older one will do fine for the performance but I’m hoping my little one will be able to make it through the whole show. Start them young right?

    • Katie, last year, I was prepared to take my daughter out for a break, but she loved the whole show. It helps that there will be lots of families in the audience — we’re all in it together. Good for you to start them young!

Comments are closed.