A Carolina Nutcracker

On December 7th and 8th, the City Ballet will mount one of the Cape Fear region’s largest artistic projects of the season – a full-length production of the beloved holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” with a 50-piece professional orchestra and treble chorus. This is the only production of the ballet with live accompaniment on the east coast of North Carolina.


Set in Wilmington in December 1865, A Carolina Nutcracker takes the magical story and places Drosselmeyer and the Nutcracker at the Bellamy Mansion, with the “Clara” character recast as the real historical Ellen Bellamy at age 13. Local Wilmington characters from the period, gorgeous historical costumes, period decor, and authentic local holiday customs from the 1860s make this traditional ballet classic a special treat for all ages.

Instead of a recorded soundtrack, this production features something rare and wonderful in ballet: a live professional orchestra made up of almost 50 top-notch symphonic players, including: Beverly Andrews, concertmaster of the Wilmington Symphony; Jim Candido, a 37-year veteran of the New York Philharmonic; Dr. Danijela Gualdi, faculty violinist at UNCW; and many others. Voice-over narration in the Prologue is provided by Wilmington’s own Nan Graham, a frequent commentator on all things Southern at local public radio station WHQR. The music will be led by Alex E. Hill, a professional conductor who has directed symphonies, operas, ballets, and choruses over a 35-year career.

The City Ballet is the region’s own classical ballet company, with 40 exquisitely-trained pre-professional dancers joined by over 100 local students, plus two professional guest artists from the Carolina Ballet. Artistic Director Andrea C. Hill, founder of the City Ballet, is a highly-acclaimed teacher and choreographer, and has created or staged nearly 50+ original and traditional ballets. The City Ballet is the area’s only school and company specializing exclusively in classical and contemporary ballet. City Ballet faculty, students, and alumni have been recognized for excellence around the country and the world.