For decades, annual renditions of The Nutcracker have enchanted audiences and inspired troupes of young ballerinas. Few fans realize that Tchaikovsky’s ballet was inspired by “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It’s this rendition of the classic Christmas tale that the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre adapts every year, complete with bright colors and dark surrealism. “This year’s addition to the other amazing puppets by Giles Collard is a giant fish in the lake scene and a 15-foot dragon in the candy scene. … We are also including aerialists this year,” says co-director Susan Collard. The fifth annual performance of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King will take place at Diana Wortham Theatre on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. $28 general admission/$20 youth/$23 students and seniors. dwtheatre.com. Photo by Toby Maurer of The Brandinghouse
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