Shelter Dogs Perform in Nutcracker Ballet

Dogs join the cast of Sacramento Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker.’

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: December 18, 2014, 10 a.m. PST

I love ballet. I get season tickets every year and absolutely adore seeing how different companies perform various ballets. This year, Sacramento Ballet has added a twist to the famous holiday classic, "The Nutcracker.” They’ve included adoptable dogs in their live performances.

If you’ve never seen "The Nutcracker,” it’s a two-act ballet set to music by Tchaikovsky. It is the story of Clara, a little girl who receives a nutcracker on Christmas Eve. She awakens in the middle of the night to a world of imagination, love and magic, when she sees her beloved nutcracker grow to life-size and come to life. A battle with the Mouse King ensues. After the Mouse King is defeated, the nutcracker turns into a prince and he and Clara visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Land of Sweets, where they are treated to dances by various "sweets” from around the world (when I danced this ballet, I was one of the Spanish dancers).

With all that warmth and love, it seems only natural to me to include dogs.

The opening scene is a party at Clara’s house and it is here, along with a scene on a busy street in Act I, that Sacramento Ballet has chosen to present the adoptable dogs. They’ve partnered with Front Street Animal Shelter in an effort to find a unique way of letting people know these pets need forever homes. The company scheduled 13 performances, and each will include at least one shelter dog.



This is the first time the shelter has collaborated with the ballet.

"We’re…exposing our animals to an entirely different demographic,” Gina Knepp, manager of Front Street, told The Sacramento Bee. "I would venture to guess that many folks in these audiences might go to a breeder to find a pet. Hopefully, we’ll open their eyes to the incredible dogs we have at Front Street.”

The performances began on Dec. 6 and by opening night 14 pets had already been adopted. The total is now at 40, with the goal over the remaining five performances to bring that number up to 50. This is such a unique way of bringing attention to shelter pets; I’m so excited that it’s working – and doing so in a way that brings two of my loves (ballet and dogs) together.


The way I see it, why not see a great ballet and adopt a dog in much need of a forever home? It’s a great way to support both the arts and animals.

What do you think of this collaboration? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos via Front Street's Facebook page.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

12/19/2014 1:50:47 PM

This is a great idea!

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