On Dec. 18, the holiday season's most famous and beloved ballet, Tchaikovsky's classic "The Nutcracker," celebrates its 124th anniversary of  its very first performance.

But just a few weeks before that significant date, Inland Dance Theatre is celebrating its own very historic anniversary: 40 years of bringing "The Nutcracker" to the Inland Empire and ushering in the holiday season with a magic, wonder and beauty all its own.

Presented in the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts, "The Nutcracker" -- and, of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Cavalier and, of course, Clara -- will come to glorious life for three performances only Dec. 4-6.

Guests artists have been part of Inland Dance Theatre's production throughout the years. This year is no different. Guest artists from the San Diego Ballet will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Cavalier and Sugar Plum Fairy. They are husband and wife Russian-born dancers Maxim and Ekaterina Tchernychev.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet, about a young girl named Clara who dreams of the Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle with the Mouse King, is one of the most popular ballets of all time.

The ballet, which is performed by dozens of groups worldwide primarily during the Christmas season, includes such well-known characters as Clara and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker-Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Harlequin and the Mouse King.

The music in Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is among his most beloved. It contains some of his most memorable melodies, several which are frequently used in television and film, as well as in TV commercials. One of the most recognizable pieces is The “Trepak” or “Russian Dance,” along with the famous “Waltz of the Flowers,” and the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

The 80-member Inland Dance Theatre cast of all ages is made up of amateur and professional dancers and actors from throughout Southern California. Local residents are from San Bernardino, Redlands, Highland, Yucaipa, Crestline, Mentone, Lake Arrowhead, Moreno Valley, Beaumont, Corona and Fontana.


WHO: Inland Dance Theatre

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 4-5, 2:15 p.m. Dec. 6

WHERE: California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St., San Bernardino.

TICKETS: $20, $25 and $30, and available through or theater box office