The longest running San Jose 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 Tiit Helimets (Principal Dancers, San Francisco Ballet) Dec. 6-8, and Claire Rathbun (of Syracuse City Ballet) and Jake Casey (formerly of Cincinnati Ballet and most recently the Estonian Theatre Vanemuine Ballet) Dec 13-15.

The Cambrian Symphony’s 52-piece orchestra will be masterfully led by conductor Scott Johannes Krijnen.

Continuing the tradition for the 54th year, San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley 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 The San José Dance Theatre’s, The Nutcracker, a San Jose family tradition since 1966.

  • Chelsea
  • Natalie


Performance Dates

December 6, 2019 @ 10:30am*
December 6, 2019 @ 7:30pm**
December 7, 2019 @ 2:00pm
December 7, 2019 @ 7:30pm
December 8, 2019 @ 2:00pm
December 13, 2019 @ 7:30pm**
December 14, 2019 @ 2:00pm
December 14, 2019 @ 7:30pm
December 15, 2019 @ 2:00pm

The Nutcracker Calendar


Don’t just see The Nutcracker, experience it! See more than just the performance with the Nutcracker VIP Experience! In addition to the best seats in the house, take a behind-the-scenes tour of The Nutcracker and see the magic of the production up close. Meet and greet the cast at the exclusive Candy Kingdom party held in the Ridder Lounge, while filling up on delicious holiday treats and drinks. VIP ticket holders can also skip the crowds by using a special entrance into the theater, and using the Ridder Lounge restrooms during intermission.

The VIP Experience

Candy Kingdom Party

This is an exclusive party held in the Ridder Lounge, in which VIP ticket holders can meet and greet the cast. Get autographs and pose for photos with dancers in full costume, including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Sugar Plum Cavalier! The Candy Kingdom party is one hour before each performance. Fill up on delicious holiday treats and drinks during the party

Backstage Tours

The backstage tour offers a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into The Nutcracker production. Visit the stage and backstage areas where the dancers prepare, and learn more about props, sets, and the magic that goes into making the production spectacular!

A limited number of VIP tickets are available for each performance. Please check-in with the VIP Manager hour and 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance (showtime) in the location indicated in your VIP itinerary.

For matinees, the arrival time is 12:15 pm For evenings shows, the arrival time is 5:45 pm

The VIP Experience starts promptly 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to showtime and will last 30-45 minutes. Look for the VIP Entrance sign at the theater and enter the theater there.


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


Audiences will be awed by the grace and talent of our Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets with San Francisco Ballet, and Claire Rathburn and Jake Casey of Syracuse City Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet will be performing the second weekend. Also gracing the stage, the dashing Snow King portrayed by professional guest artist, David Fonnegra, with the San Jose Dance Theatre.

Sasha De Sola


Sugar Plum Fairy Dec. 6-8, All Performances

Sasha De Sola created principal or ensemble roles in Caniparoli’s Tears, McIntyre’s Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem, Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END, Scarlett’s Hummingbird, Thatcher’s Ghost in the Machine, Welch’s Bespoke, and Wheeldon’s Bound To.

She has performed principal or featured roles in Tomasson’s Giselle (Myrtha), Nutcracker (Queen of the Snow, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina), The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora); Swan Lake, On a Theme of Paganini, Prism, and Trio; Balanchine’s Coppélia (Waltz of the Hours soloist and Dawn), Diamonds, Divertimento No. 15, Serenade (Russian Girl), and Symphony in Three Movements…[ Read More ]

Tiit Helimets

Principal Dancer with San FRancisco Ballet

Sugar Plum Cavalier Dec. 6-8, All Performances

A former principal dancer at Royal Birmingham Ballet, Tiit Helimets has danced major roles in Tomasson’s Giselle (Albrecht), Nutcracker (Grand Pas de Deux Prince), The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Desiré), and Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried and Von Rothbart); Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote (Basilio); Cranko’s Onegin (Gremin); Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid (Prince); Scarlett’s Frankenstein (Alphonse Frankenstein); and Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Prince Gillaume). He created principal roles in Caniparoli’s Doublestop, Ibsen’s House, and Tears; King’s The Collective Agreement; Liang’s The Infinite Ocean; Possokhov’s Swimmer (Humbert); and Wheeldon’s Ghosts…[ Read More ]

Claire Rathbun

Principal Guest Artist, SYRACUSE CITY BALLET

Sugar Plum Fairy Dec. 13-15, All Performances

Claire Rathbun is delighted to be joining San José Dance Theatre for their Nutcracker! Rathbun danced with Washington Ballet in D.C. from 2014-2016 where she originated new works from artistic director Septime Webre. Some of her favorite roles/ ballets include: Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Miss Liberty in Nutcracker, Serenade, Janita and Alicia, and the world premieres of Sleepy Hollow and Alice in Wonderland.

She currently is a principal guest artist with Syracuse City Ballet. Recent roles include: Snow White in Snow White, Jasmine in Aladdin, and Snow Queen and Dew Drop in Nutcracker. Most recently Rathbun has been seen on Broadway, TV, and Regional Theatre.)…[ Read More ]

Jake Casey

Former dancer with CINCINNATI Ballet and up and coming choreographer

Sugar Plum Cavalier Dec. 13-15, All Performances

Jake Casey is a New York based Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, and Actor. He was born in Syracuse, New York, where he began his training with Kathleen Rathbun at the Syracuse City Ballet.  He then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to train at the Rock School for Dance Education, where he is now on the Permanent Guest Faculty. During his summers, he studied with the Boston Ballet and at the Chautauqua Institution. In the 2013-2014 Season, Casey danced as a corps de ballet member with Ballet Idaho. Under the artistic direction of Peter Anastos, he performed principal and soloist roles…[ Read More ]

Mariana Zschoerper

Snow Queen Cast 1, Dec. 6-8 & 13-15

Mariana began her ballet training at the age of 3, scoring the highest admittance score of 8,000 children applying for The Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil. Mariana trained at The Bolshoi Theater School from 2000-2007 and performed soloist roles in Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, and Russia. She was chosen to do an internship with The Bolshoi Ballet in Russia and received private coaching by Vladimir Vassiliev and Ekaterina Maximova. Mariana performed Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, while completing her internship with The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

Mariana graduated from The Bolshoi Theater School as the Valedictorian of her class, and received a Certificate of Vaganova Method for Teaching…[ Read More ]

David Fonnegra

Snow King
Dec. 7-9 & 14-16, All Performances

Born in Venezuela, David is a former Principal Dancer with Ballet Nacional de Caracas, Channel Islands Ballet, Miami City Ballet, State Street Ballet, and Diablo Ballet. His repertoire includes many of the major classical ballets, neo-classical and contemporary works.

He toured extensively with Ballet Nacional de Caracas to South America, the Caribbean, Spain, Mexico, the U.S. and to the Montpellier Fesitval in France, and the Ibero American Dance Gala at Madrid’s Royal Palace…[ Read More ]

George Ou

Arabian Prince & Spanish Trio
Cast 1: Spanish Trio, Cast 2: Arabian Prince

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, Ou has worked as a Network Engineer, a tech analyst and writer, and research fellow at a Washington DC think tank.

Asha Sienkiewicz

Snowflake & Dew Drop Fairy
Snowflake and Dew Drop Fairy, Dec. 6-8 & 13-15, All Performances.

Originally from Iowa, Asha trained at Ballet Des Moines under Serkan Usta and Lori Grooters. Scholarships from the Joffrey Ballet School Professional Trainee Program brought her to New York City where she trained under Francesca Corkle and John Magnus. In New York, Asha worked closely with Richard Marsden, re-staging and performing the role of The Chosen One in Nijinsky’s “Rite of Spring”…[ Read More ]

Mikhael Plain

Dew Drop Cavalier
Dew Drop Cavalier Dec. 13-15

Mikhael Plain was born and raised in Northern California. His training included a 5-year apprenticeship with the Sacramento Ballet as a teenager.

Mikhael began his professional career with the San Francisco Ballet in 1995. While with SFB, Mikhael distinguished himself in featured roles that included the American premier of William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, David Bintley’s The Dance House, Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet and Pacific, Stanton Welch’s Maninyas, and Nureyev’s Raymonda…[ Read More ]

Michael Howerton

Drosselmeyer evening performances and Mr.Staulbaum matinee performances.
Dec. 6-8 & 13-15

Michael Howerton is a native Californian and has been dancing since he was just 7 years of age. 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. 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. Howerton has also performed with Mark Foehringer Dance Project of San Francisco, Peninsula Ballet Theater, Western Ballet and San Joaquin Ballet. Howerton is thrilled to perform with San Jose Dance Theatre, where he grew up performing and built many fond memories.

Jazon Escultura

Drosselmeyer matinee performances and Mr. Staulbaum evening performances.
Dec. 6-8 & 13-15

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.
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.” Escultura has also danced with sjDANCEco, Nhan Ho Project, and South Bay Ballet Arts.

Linda Hurkmans, M.A.

Artistic Director, San Jose Dance Theatre

As a child, Linda Hurkmans was given detailed Vaganova training from Connie Schwarze and performed for San José Dance Theatre. She 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). Hurkmans received full 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. She 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. She 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 Hurkmans 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. She 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. Hurkmans’ choreography has been performed at the Norwegian State Ballet, Western Ballet, Zohco Dance Co., Santa Clara University, Foothill College, Pasquale Esposito’s Italian Christmas, and San Jose Dance Theatre.

In 2014, Hurkmans was named the Artistic Director of San Jose Dance Theatre and helped re-open the doors to the academy and rebuilt it from 0 students to over 100 today. She has choreographed a full length version of “The Nutcracker”, 20 original works for the school and company and has staged “La Bayadere Kingdom of the Shades:, “White Swan Pas de Deux”, “Swan Lake Four Little Swans”,“Swan Lake Pas de Trois”, “Le Corsaire Pas de Deux”, “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” and more. Hurkmans has overseen San Jose Dance Theatre’s collaborations with Margaret Wingrove’s Dance Co., with Foothill College, and performances at SjDANCE Co. Festival, the Montalvo Arts Center, Santana Row Tree Lighting Event, World Wide Women’s Festival at Santa Clara University, San Francisco Movement Arts Festival, and the San Jose Center for Performing Arts.

Linda’s World Premiere of “The Firebird” was performed to Sold Out audiences at the Hammer Theatre. This Spring “The Firebird” will be performed again with an excerpt from “The Sleeping Beauty”

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. Krijnen 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. In 2015, Krijnen was recognized for his 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.


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, but students receive a well rounded curriculum including pointe, repertoire, Men’s class, Pas de Deux training, Modern dance, Jazz, Character Class, Chinese Tumbling, Pilates, and Progressing Ballet Technique. San Jose Dance Theatre has produced students who have gone on to professional dance careers and scholarships to universities. San José Dance Theatre offers training for youth and adults at beginning through pre-professional levels.



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.

Nutcracker School Performance

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 7 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.

To reserve tickets for the Nutcracker School Performance CLICK HERE or for more information about having a Nutcracker Assembly at your school, email Outreach School Coordinator, Jacqui Culler, [email protected]