San Jose’s longest running Nutcracker will capture your imagination and transport you to a magical world of brave toy soldiers & dancing snowflakes.•

Audiences will be awed by the grace and talent of our world-class guest artists, Sasha de Sola and Max Cauthorn of San Francisco Ballet. And, Samantha Bell of Western Ballet and Rudy Candia formerly from Silicon Valley Ballet.

Also gracing the stage, the dashing Snow King and mysterious Arabian Prince, portrayed by professional guest artists, Walter Gutierrez, formerly of Silicon Valley Ballet, and Nathan Cottam, director of Mannakin Theater & Dance. Masterful conductor, Scott Johannes Krijnen, will lead the The Cambrian Symphony’s 52 piece, symphony orchestra.

Continuing the tradition for over 50 years, SF Bay Area dancers take part in this iconic production at the San José Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose. This holiday season, experience the beauty and splendor of San José Dance Theatre’s, The Nutcracker, a San Jose tradition since 1966.

The Nutcracker Ballet
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Thank you for your patronage in 2016, we look forward to another great year of Nutcracker in 2017!

Box Office
Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
City National Box Office
135 West San Carlos St., San Jose, CA 95113

Girl Scouts of Northern California
We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership and tradition with The Girl Scouts of Northern California, offering a Nutcracker workshop and special Girl Scouts Nutcracker show package. Please contact your troop leader for more information. To order tickets for your troop, contact (408) 286-9905.

Group Discounts
Groups of 20 or more receive a significant savings off regular priced tickets. Contact (408) 286-9905 to book your group.

2016 Performance Dates

SOLD OUT Dec. 2, 10:30am*
December 2, 7:30pm
December 3, 2pm
December 3, 7:30pm
December 4, 2pm

December 9, 7:30pm
December 10, 2pm
December 10, 7:30pm
December 11, 2pm

*School Performance is not open to the public. Select “Teachers” to learn more about how your school (or homeschool) group can attend.

Corporate Discounts
For Corporate Discount Program information, ask your employer to contact (408) 286-9905

All Performances
San José Center for the Performing Arts

255 S Almaden Blvd
San Jose, CA 95113

The Nutcracker Story

The Nutcracker ballet was first presented 123 years ago at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 17, 1892. Peter Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer, was commissioned by mastermind choreographer Marius Petipa to compose the Nutcracker ballet, score based on Alexandre Dumas’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”

The first performance of The Nutcracker ballet in the United States was by the San Francisco Opera Ballet, in 1944. The production was directed by William Christensen. Twenty years later in 1966, San José Dance Theatre brought the Silicon Valley it’s own version of the Nutcracker ballet. San José Dance Theatre is the second oldest Nutcracker ballet in the Bay Area and has been produced each and every December for 50 consecutive years.

Read the Full Nutcracker Ballet Story


Nutcracker Ballet Arabian Scene

Candy Kingdom

Your opportunity to meet select Nutcracker dancers including our Sugar Plum Fairy and Sugar Plum Cavalier. Get autographs and pose for photos. Enjoy cookies, drinks and and crafts for young guests. Candy Kingdom events are one hour before evening Nutcracker ballet performances and directly after matinee performances. Don’t forget your camera!

Friday, December 2, 6pm
Saturday, December 3, 4pm
Saturday, December 3, 6pm
Sunday, December 4, 4pm

Friday, December 9, 6pm
Saturday, December 10, 4pm
Saturday, December 10, 6pm
Sunday, December 11, 4pm

Backstage Tours

Take an exclusive, behind-the-scenes Nutcracker ballet tour. Visit the stage and the backstage areas where the dancers prepare. Who knows, you may even run into a few of the dancers!
A limited number of tickets are available before each performance.

Buy Tickets Online

Meet the Artists

Audiences will be awed by the grace and talent of our Principal dancers, Sasha de Sola and Max Cauthorn of San Francisco Ballet. And, Samantha Bell of Western Ballet and Rudy Candia formerly from Silicon Valley Ballet.

Sasha de Sola


Sugar Plum Fairy Dec. 2-4
Sasha De Sola has performed principal or featured roles in Tomasson’s Giselle(Myrtha, Solo Wili, and Peasant pas de cinq), Nutcracker (Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina, Queen of the Snow, and Sugar Plum Fairy), Prism, Swan Lake, and Trio; Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Coppélia (Waltz of the Hours soloist and Dawn), Divertimento No. 15, and Symphony in Three Movements; Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House; Cranko’s Onegin (Olga); Liang’s Symphonic Dances; Lifar’s Suite en Blanc; Makarova’s (after Petipa) “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère, Act II(Solo Shades); Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III; Page’s Guide to Strange Places; Possokhov’s Classical Symphony and Firebird; Ratmansky’s From Foreign Lands and Shostakovich Trilogy; Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces, and In the Night; and Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Stepsister Edwina, Spirit of Winter/Fluidity, and Russian Princess), Ghosts, and Rush. She created principal and soloist roles in Caniparoli’s Tears and Scarlett’s Hummingbird, respectively.

Sasha’s guest appearances include the International Ballet Gala: World Ballet Superstars in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She received a silver medal at the World International Ballet Competition (Professional Division) and a bronze medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition.

Max Cauthorn


Sugar Plum Cavalier Dec. 2-4
Max Cauthorn has performed principal or featured roles in Tomasson’s Giselle (Peasant pas de cinq), Nutcracker (King of the Snow, Jack-in-the-Box, Dancing Nutcracker, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Bear), Romeo & Juliet (Acrobats), Swan Lake (Aristocrats and Russian), and Concerto Grosso; Caniparoli’s Tears; Lifar’s Suite en Blanc (pas de cinq); Possokhov’s Magrittomania (soloist men), The Rite of Spring (Elders), and Swimmer (soloist men); Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries (principal); and Wheeldon’s Rush (soloist). He created a corps de ballet role in Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings.

Max danced in the 2015 film of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet as part of the inaugural season of Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance.

Samantha Bell

Former Soloist, State Street Ballet

Sugar Plum Fairy Dec. 9-11
Samantha Bell, from Orange County, CA, trained with the Anaheim Ballet on full scholarship and joined their company in 2008. She won third place at Youth American Grand Prix and went on to the NYC finals for three years. From 2010-2015, Samantha danced with the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara where she performed soloist roles including the Autumn Fairy in Rodney Gustafson’s Cinderella, Bianca in Robert Sund’s Taming of the Shrew, and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. She also created the lead role of Mrs. Medlock in LA choreographer, Josie Walsh’s premiere of The Secret Garden. Bell’s piece titled, “Pistolero” became the first-ever dancer choreographed creation to be added to the company repertoire. She toured extensively with SSB, traveling both internationally and nationally, including a two month tour of China performing in over 30 cities. In 2014, she performed alongside Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora in their number one hit, “Black Widow” at the MTV Video Music Awards. Since moving to the bay area, Bell has performed with Menlowe Ballet and continues to perform as a guest artist for Western Ballet.

Rudy Candia

Former Soloist, Silicon Valley Ballet

Sugar Plum Cavalier Dec. 9-11
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Mr. Candia started his ballet training at the Cuban National Ballet School and later on at the Uruguayan National Ballet School. He then became a member of the Ballet National SODRE at the age of 15 in Montevideo Uruguay. In 2001, he joined Carolina Ballet, his repertoire includes lead roles in many of Balanchine’s works. Mr. Candia joined Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley in 2005 and was soon promoted to Soloist. He has performed in many title roles such as; Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, Prince Vladimir in The Firebird, Don Jose in Roland Petit’s Carmen, and many others. His repertoire also includes lead roles of many works from various choreographers all around the world including; Sir Federick Ashton’s Meditation from Thaiis Pas de Deux, Jorma Elo’s Glow Stop, Dennis Nahat’s Carmina Burana, and Blues Suede Shoes, Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Songs and Bakers Dozen, Jerome Robbins’s Fancy Free and many others.
Since moving to the United States, Mr. Candia has found a distinct way of utilizing his early training technique to enhance his American repertoire.

Nathan Cottam, Snow King, Arabian Prince

Nathan Cottam

Snow King, Arabian Prince Dec. 9-11
Nathan Cottam is a dance artist with a passion for creating, performing and teaching for a wide audience. Raised in Buffalo, New York, Nathan was exposed early in life to music and drama and embarked on a formal study of dance upon entering college at Brigham Young University.
After completing a BS in sociology, Nathan went on to earn a Master of Fine Art in Dance from the University of Arizona. He has performed with many ensembles and companies including Oakland Ballet, Bay Pointe Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and the Serbian National Ballet in Belgrade, Serbia. In 2013 Nathan founded Mannakin Theater and Dance to showcase his own choreography and artistic vision. With his company, Nathan has created many new dances and several tours of Serbia. In the Summer of 2016 Nathan produced his first performances in California with Mannakin Theater and Dance.
He continues to perform and teach around the Bay Area and Western United States. This will be his first performance with San Jose Dance Theatre.

Walter Gutierrez Garcia

Walter Gutierrez Garcia

Snow King, Arabian Prince Dec. 2-4
Walter Garcia is formerly of Silicon Valley Ballet. He has danced Basilio in Don Quixote, Ali in Le Corsaire, Albrecht in Giselle, and in Balachine’s Tarantella. He won a silver medal in the World Ballet Competition and a bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Havana. He formerly danced with the National Ballet of Cuba in his native country as well as with Festival Ballet in Providence. He trained with Magaly Suarez, Mirta Hermida and at the National Ballet School in Havana.

Kathryn Petak, Nutcracker Ballet Snow Queen

Kathryn Petak

Dew Drop Fairy
Kathryn Petak started ballet at the YMCA and by age 6 began her dance training at San José Dance Theatre. After training with such schools as San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Western Ballet, she joined Smuin Ballets/ SF where she performed soloist roles as well as being part of the original cast of Smuin’s Christmas Ballet. She then joined State Street Ballet as a principal dancer where she did leading roles including touring Taiwan and China as Beauty in Robert Sund’s “Beauty and the Beast”, which was featured in Dancer Magazine. She danced in the chorus at San Francisco Opera Ballet and Santa Barbara Opera Ballet. Ms. Petak has done numerous guest appearances in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Western Ballet. She has also explored musical theatre, where she has performed supporting roles in West Side Story (AMT), Cats (Sierra Repertory)  Brigadoon (Lyric Theatre) and others. Ms. Petak is a Yoga and Pilates teacher by day, where she has taught throughout the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Brooklyn and in Manhattan. Yoga and Pilates has been a wonderful cross training to her dancing through the years.

Michael Howerton, Nutcracker Ballet Drosselmeyer

Michael Howerton

Michael Howerton is a native Californian and has been dancing since he was just 7 years of age.  Mr. Howerton trained in classical ballet with Paul Curtis and Shawn Stuart, Francesca Romanoff, Benjamin Harkarvy and Carol Petersen, among others.  His extensive modern training came from Margaret Wingrove and David Grenke.  Mr. Howerton is a long-time veteran of the Margaret Wingrove Dance Company, where he has had many roles, ranging from Director, Choreographer, Teacher, Principle dancer and Guest artist. Michael has also performed with Mark Foehringer Dance Project of San Francisco, Peninsula Ballet Theater, Western Ballet and San Joaquin Ballet.  Michael is thrilled to be back performing with San Jose Dance Theatre, where he grew up performing and built many fond memories.
Mr. Howerton would like to dedicate his performances as Drosselmeyer this year, with love and fond memories to Paul Curtis and Shawn Stuart, former Founders/Directors of San Jose Dance Theatre.

Jazon Escultura

Jazon Escultura

Mr. Stahlbaum and Russian
Jazon Escultura has his B.A. in Dance from San Jose State University where he trained in Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop. He studied with Fred Mathews, Gary Masters, Jill Yager, Heather Cooper and Maria Basile.
Mr. Escultura was a member of the University Dance Theater at San Jose State University from 2005-2007. As a company member, he had the opportunity to perform at the American College Dance Festival, Dancin’ Downtown and National Dance Week. He currently teaches Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary at various studios in the south bay area and is starting his own Modern Dance Company “Moving Sculptures.” Jazon has also danced with sjDANCEco, Nhan Ho Project, and South Bay Ballet Arts.

George Ou

Spanish Cavalier, Dew Drop Cavalier
George Ou started his ballet training at the age of 21 with the Marin Ballet and was significantly influenced by Shannon Bresnahan, Svetlana Afanasieva, Mikko Nissinen, and Alexi Zubiria.  He performed as a guest artist for various Bay Area ballet schools and companies.  Outside of dancing Mr. Ou has worked as a Network Engineer, a tech analyst and writer, and research fellow at a Washington DC think tank.

Linda Hurkmans

artistic director, san josé dance theatre

As a child, Linda was given detailed Vaganova training from Connie Schwartze and performed for San Jose Dance Theatre. Linda was then heavily mentored by Larissa Sklyanskaya (Soloist with Bolshoi Ballet), Natasha Papina (Soloist with Kirov Ballet, and the 1st ballet partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov), Benjamin Harkarvy, and Conrad Ludlow (Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet). Linda received scholarships to Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and at the age of 16, a full scholarship to the University of Utah Ballet Dept. Linda danced professionally with The Royal Danish Ballet, the Utah Ballet/Ballet West, The Norwegian Andanse Ballet, Zahkraz Dance, and The Norwegian National Ballet in conjunction with The Year of Dance in Norway and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Linda competed in the 72 country ITI International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland, 1991, and appeared in the CBS Mini-Series “At Mother’s Request” starring Stefanie Powers.
Linda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, Cum Laude, in Ballet Performance from Univ. of Utah, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the Notre Dame de Namur University, and full Pilates certifications in Pilates Mat and Apparatus from Turning Pointe Studios and the PhysicalMind Institute. Linda has taught youth, pre-professional, adult ballet dancers and Pilates students for 18 years in Europe and in the U.S. and at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, where she helped found the Pilates program for dancers and athletes. Linda’s choreography has been performed at the Norwegian State Ballet, Western Ballet, Zohco Dance, and in 2014, she accepted the position of Artistic Director of San Jose Dance Theatre. Linda helped successfully re-open the doors to the San Jose Dance Theatre’s academy and choreographed a new full length version of “The Nutcracker” as well as the works “Rodrigo’s Adagio”, “Festival”, “Classroom Expressions”, “Chopin’s Etudes”, “Nocturnes”, “Minute Waltzes”, “Rachmaninoff’s Taunt”, and has staged “Swan Lake Pas de Trois”, “Le Corsaire Pas de Deux”, “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” and more for SJDT. Linda has overseen SJDT’s collaborations with Margaret Wingrove’s Dance Co., with Foothill College, and performances at SjDANCE Co. Festival, the Montalvo Arts Center, and the San Jose Center for Performing Arts.

Scott Krijnen

music director and conductor, cambrian symphony

Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Scott Krijnen was raised in an environment of music, conducting and education. It is with great joy that he continues to grow in these areas everyday in his career and personal life. A recipient of a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he is a frequent performer as a chamber musician, with recent concerts across Europe, Taiwan and Korea, and as an orchestral player, including as a member of the Silicon Valley Symphony and the San Francisco Chamber orchestra. As a conductor, he is sought after throughout the Bay Area, appearing as a recurring guest conductor with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and has recently been appointed as Orchestra Director of the “Summer in the City” festival at San Jose State University. As an educator, Scott currently teaches over 500 students through nine orchestras at Castillero and Redwood Middle Schools, winning teacher of the year recognition in 2011. He coaches and conducts at Saratoga High School, leads sectionals at San Jose State University, and has coached and presented with Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra for the last decade. Scott is happily married to his wife Aryn, and is the father of two beautiful children who get to grow up in the same wonderful world of music as their father. This past year, Scott was recognized for his incredible dedication to music, his students, and the greater community with both the Richard Levin Orchestra Educator Award from the California Music Educators Association and the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area All-Star Teacher Award.

The Ballet Academy

San José Dance Theatre is the official school of The Nutcracker. San José Dance Theatre offers excellence in dance training in a nurturing environment. Classical ballet is the main focus, students also receive weekly contemporary dance and conditioning (a combination of Pilates, yoga, strengthening and stretching).

San José Dance Theatre offers training for youth and adults
at beginning through pre-professional levels.


Teachers & Educators

Special School Show A dream field trip for your class or school. The Nutcracker never fails to dazzle adults and children alike with its magic and adventure and promises to be an unforgettable experience. Research indicates that students who participate in the arts are more successful academically, socially and as members of their communities. The Nutcracker Ballet will be performed at our exclusive student performance on Friday, December 2 at 10:30am at the San José Center for the Performing Arts. This performance is sure to provide lasting memories to your students and fulfills Common Core Standards.

Nutcracker Assembly at Your School San José Dance Theatre offers an opportunity to learn about the discipline of ballet including the dedicated training and practice required. Youth ballet students from San José Dance Theatre are available on a limited basis to visit Bay Area schools. During our school assemblies, dancers and Nutcracker staff will provide a 45-minute overview of ballet and demonstrate excerpts of Nutcracker dances.

To reserve tickets for the Special School Show CLICK HERE or for more information about having a Nutcracker Assembly at your school, email Outreach School Coordinator, Jacqui Culler, jacqui@sjdt.org