Enchanting Holiday Magic 


The holidays are right around the corner, and the Rio Grande Valley is anticipating one of its most beloved and enduring traditions, “The Nutcracker.” This year will mark a remarkable milestone as the production celebrates its 51st year of captivating Rio Grande Valley audiences with its timeless tale and breathtaking performance.

This year’s show promises to continue with that tradition and bring a spectacle of dance, music, and festive celebration with a cast of 117 talented performers that bring the performance together.

“We are performing with a live orchestra and have partnered with a conductor from the University of Texas, Dr. Norman Gamboa,” said Deborah Case, RGV Ballet’s artistic director. “He’s working with us to create a fabulous show for the community. We’ll have live performers, well over 100, and the 27-member orchestra.”

The orchestra comprises students, Valley Symphony Orchestra musicians, and music teachers from the community.

“The Nutcracker” has graced the stages of the Rio Grande Valley, weaving a magical narrative that enchants both young and old. The story unfolds as Clara, a young girl, embarks on a fantastic journey through the Land of Sweets after receiving a Nutcracker doll as a gift. With intricate choreography, dazzling costumes, and beautiful stage design, the production brings to life the magic of Tchaikovsky’s timeless composition.

The production will be performed at the McAllen Performance Arts Center starting Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. Student matinee performances will be held Thursday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 9. All tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the McAllen Performance Arts Center Box Office.

The show is a $100,000 production that speaks volumes about the commitment to excellence that Case and the Rio Grande Valley Ballet hold. The production is elevated yearly by adding new props, costumes, and lighting designs that dance with the music and dancers.

“We’re the single, No. 1 longest-running show consistently in the Valley,” Case added. “Nobody else has been able to produce a show 51 years straight.”

Guiding the production, Case’s dedication has ensured the continuity of the production’s excellence, allowing it to flourish and evolve while remaining deeply rooted in tradition.

“Classic ballet is alive and well in the Rio Grande Valley,” Case added.

“We’ve got hundreds of students at the Deborah Case Dance Academy and teach hundreds of children year after year.”

As the curtains rise on this year’s “The Nutcracker” production, the Rio Grande Valley Ballet invites audiences into a world of wonder and delight. This cherished tradition inspires, uplifts, and brings families together, reminding us of the magic of the holiday season. With its rich history, dedication, and commitment to spreading joy, “The Nutcracker” remains a beacon of holiday spirit in the Rio Grande Valley.

“We hear people every year say that the first thing they do is attend “The Nutcracker.” Case said.

Case added that people have approached her with family photo albums showing themselves at the performance through the years. They highlight that “The Nutcracker” is the most important part of their holiday season. “It warms my soul to continue this tradition.”

Selene Guerrero