'NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet' returns to Kirkland Fine Arts Center for the 2023 Christmas Season

Tickets for the December 11 performance are on sale now.


DECATUR, Ill. -- Millikin University's Kirkland Fine Arts Center announces the return of Talmi Entertainment’s “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” to Decatur, Illinois for the 2023 Christmas season, performing one night only on Monday, December 11, at 7 p.m. Tickets are now on sale, through the summer, for early-bird planners wishing to reserve seats in advance. 

Last at Kirkland Fine Arts Center in 2019, “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” is now in its 31st year touring the United States. The ballet company is led by principal artists Ukrainian Prima Ballerina Karyna Shatkovskaya (Kharkiv) and Olena Pecheniuk (Dnipro). Additional principal artists include Hitomi Takeda and Haruo of Japan and Batur Buklu of Turkey. The production boasts an international cast and features international scenic and prop designers.

Puppeteers from the Czech Republic and South Africa, Chuvash, and St. Petersburg, and domestically—New York—make the spirit of Christmas come alive during the classic tale of a young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a battle against the Mouse King. New to the production since 2022 are a flock of doves, which represent the spirit of Peace and Harmony in the production, created by South African puppeteer Roger Titely.

The Nutcracker Christmas Ballet was first performed as a double premiere with Tchaikovsky’s last opera Iolanta in St. Peterburg, Russia, on December 18, 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. It did not debut outside of Russia until 1934, when it was performed in England for the first time. Ten years later, the first Nutcracker Ballet was staged on U.S. soil in 1944 by San Francisco Ballet artistic director and Balanchine student William Christensen. However, the ballet did not become an American tradition until twenty years later, when the New York City Ballet performed George Balanchine’s Nutcracker in 1954. Since then, United States audiences have warmly embraced annual stagings of the Nutcracker around the country as part of their Christmas season traditions.

"NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” returns to Millikin on December 11. 

A spectacle of beauty, human athleticism, and magical delights, the “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” includes unique elements in telling the traditional holiday tale. Set in a beautiful Victorian capital from the past, the city’s sparkling skyline is featured as a backdrop. European folk characters Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden escort Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to their dream world in Act II. Finally, the “Dove of Peace,” exclusive to “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet,” welcomes the couple to the “Land of Peace and Harmony” (traditionally called “The Land of Sweets”). The “Dove of Peace” was inspired by the performances of Stanislov Vlasov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer/ballet master of “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet’s” inaugural 1993 North American tour, and partner Lilia Sabitova, People’s Artist.

The “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet’s” 2023 tour will make stops across the United States, including in Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Brooklyn, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; and elsewhere. Kirkland Fine Arts Center is proud to present this world-class performance and Christmas tradition to the community of Decatur, Illinois.

NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet

Monday, December 11, at 7 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center

Tickets are $30 // $40 // $50 // $70 // $80 // $120 // $175 (plus a 15% processing fee). Group (10+) discounts are available by calling the ticket office at 217.424.6318.

Platinum Ticket (Row 1 - $175) buyers receive:

  • Best Seats Available
  • Premium Nutcracker Tree Ornament
  • Collectable Book
  • Pre-Show Q&A with an artist

Platinum patrons to meet Tour Manager at the merchandise booth 45 minutes prior to the show.

Gold Circle (Rows 2-3 - $120) buyers receive:

  • Great/preferred seating
  • Premium Nutcracker Tree Ornament
  • Collectable Book

Patrons claim their merchandise at the merchandise booth with their tickets.

To buy tickets and for a full schedule of events, please visit kirklandfinearts.com or call the ticket office.

Ticket Office Phone: 217.424.6318

During the summer, the ticket office will have hours by appointment only. Feel free to leave a message on the ticket office voicemail, and someone will call you back.

A grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency has provided support for Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

For further information, please contact LJ Pemberton, Marketing and Patron Relations Manager at Kirkland Fine Arts Center at 217.424.3931 or lpemberton@millikin.edu.