Nightmare Before Nutcracker

We’re so excited to announce our new show this year! We will be having the First-Ever Spooky Nutcracker! Come and Experience the Nightmare before Nutcracker on October 27th & 28th.


Nightmare Before Nutcracker Poster

Spine-Tingling Magic Unleashed: The Nightmare before Nutcracker premieres this Halloween Weekend!

A Halloween Weekend Happening! Come dressed in costume and experience our haunted lobby with spooky treats, games, and contests. This will be nothing like the Nutcracker so BEWARE! What will become of the Land of Sweets if the Rat Queen wins the epic battle with the Nutcracker. Original dances in multiple genres of dance inclucing ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, and hip-hop – a poetic story, and monumental FUN! Recommended for ages 8+.

October 27th & 28th – Get ready to be mesmerized and thrilled. International Academy of Dance, home of Santa Cruz City Ballet, presents a frightening twist on the holiday classic. A new family friendly Halloween tradition sure to delight audiences of all ages. 

What if the Rats Win?

What if instead of having a wonderful dream, where the Nutcracker Prince always comes out victorious, and then Clara is whisked away to the lands of sweets—what if the rats win? The Nightmare Before Nutcracker poses these questions. With both spookiness and silliness, this Halloween performance isn’t one to be missed!

On the eve of Christmas Eve, Clara finds herself in a wild nightmare of ghoulish proportions and welcomes you to join her! The Land of Sweets turns sour and fears unravel under a growing pumpkin moon. What happens if the Rat Queen wins? Will there be a zombie apocalypse?

Come in costume and kick off your Nutcracker season in style. A Halloween experience! Nightmare Before Nutcracker isn’t what you might expect from a ballet, featuring multiple forms of dance including lyrical, hip-hop, tap, and of course ballet. This original story is told through poetry and verse with a unique compilation of music, frightful costumes and haunting choreography sure to send shivers down your spine. 

Performance Dates and Tickets Information:

Follow us on social media for updates and behind-the-scenes glimpses of this unforgettable production.

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And don’t miss the real Nutcracker!

Be sure to see the Santa Cruz City Ballet’s full length Nutcracker ballet at Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater 12/16 & 12/17 with guest artists from the Bay Area and beyond.

About International Academy of Dance home of Santa Cruz City Ballet: 

For twenty years, IAD has been “Dancing For JOY” and has become renowned for its innovative and captivating productions and world class instruction in Classical Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap & Hip-Hop for all ages. Santa Cruz City Ballet at IAD is known throughout the community for its professional full length production of the Nutcracker at Cabrillo for over 15 years, and for creating dance adaptations of fairy tale classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Wonderland, and now the Nightmare Before Halloween! With a commitment to artistic excellence and a dedication to delighting audiences, we continue to be a leading force in the world of dance in Santa Cruz.

Our performance based dance studio is encouraging and supportive, inspiring students of all ages to develop a lifelong love of dance. We strive to cultivate each dancer’s artistry, technique, focus and musicality while working toward improving balance, agility, strength and flexibility in dance and in life. To generate energy and growth and bring joy to every class and performance is our goal. We can’t wait to see you in the studio and on stage. Now accepting new students!

Do audience members come in costume?

We’re asking all guests to come in costume, though it doesn’t have to be Nutcracker-related. Dress up for Halloween, and celebrate the eerie holiday with us! There will be a Costume Contest, and the winner will get an awesome prize! So be sure to dress to impress for this nightmareish event.

Is this show family friendly?

Yes! This show was made for the whole family to enjoy! Just make sure that kids are 8 years old and older. We might have some scary dances, and we don’t want the little little ones to be too frightened. We do offer reduced rates for children, students, and seniors. Check out our ticketing page for more information!

Who will be in the show?

While our usual Nutcracker Production includes all ages from 4 to 104, we invited only Level II and up classes to participate in the production of this spooky show. So if you’d like to participate, it’s not too late to enroll! Just sign-up for fall/spring classes here. Adults and child/teen dancers are all invited to join in! For more information on classes, see our page here.

How do we buy tickets?

Tickets can be purchased here! So what are you waiting for? The Nightmare before Nutcracker will be a spectacular event. Don’t miss out!