When a graceful Sugar Plum Fairy, an evil Mouse King and a passel of adorable dancing kids take the stage at the Browning Center, it can only mean one thing -- "The Nutcracker."
In 1962, the Ogden Symphony Guild presented its first "Nutcracker" at Ogden High School, courtesy of University Theater Ballet.
Both the Ogden Symphony Guild and University Ballet Theater have changed names -- to the Ogden Symphony Ballet Association and Ballet West, respectively. But the tale of Clara and her nutcracker savior has changed but little -- and that is part of the appeal, said Melissa Seamons, marketing manager for the OSBA.
"It's certainly a tradition," she said. "Also, for us, since we are presenting it Thanksgiving weekend, it ushers in the holiday season."
This particular version of "The Nutcracker" is helmed by Adam Sklute, who has served as Ballet West's artistic director since 2007. Seamons notes that Sklute has brought a new energy to Willam Christensen's classic choreography.
"Willam Christensen's version has been around for decades -- at least since the '50s," she said. "This version is tightened up a bit, and made fresh and new. It is even a bit shorter, coming in at less than the two and a half hours, which is the typical length. He (Sklute) has tightened it and picked up the pace."
When asked why she believes this ballet holds such eternal appeal, Seamons notes that it is something families can share.
"I mean, I went with my mom when I was little, and now my mom brings her grandkids. I think that aspect of sharing with their family is something that people love to experience year after year. There is always a lot of kids in it, too, and it is often the first experience people have with ballet.
"And of course, it really is the quintessential Christmas story," Seamons added. "When you walk in there and the music starts to play, you almost feel the chill in the air. It is as though it is actually snowing right onstage."
WHAT: Ballet West's 'The Nutcracker'
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 26, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 27
WHERE: The Browning Center's Austad Auditorium, Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden
TICKETS: $18-$39, available from the Ogden Symphony Ballet Association, 801-399-9214
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 4, 11, 18, 23; 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 14-17, 20, 22, 27, 28, 30; 2 p.m. Dec. 19, 26, 31; noon Dec. 24, at Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City. $18-$74, available from ArtTix, 888-451-ARTS.