The Nutcracker Returns to Arend Arts Center


The Nutcracker presented by The Conservatory returns to the Arend Arts Center stage December 17th and 18th for the 9th annual production of the heartwarming classic set to the famed Tchaikovsky score. Described as a “community treasure,” The Conservatory’s Nutcracker is Northwest Arkansas’ most beloved holiday tradition.  Featuring a community cast of 177, including 151 regional dance students, adult character artists, and the professional guest artists of NWA Ballet Theatre, the 2021 production is estimated to involve an additional 190 behind the scenes volunteers.

Since its premiere in 2013, The Nutcracker presented by The Conservatory has provided over 1,000 area dance students and professionals prominent performance opportunities, which serve as important outlets for artistic and technical growth. The Conservatory’s Nutcracker was established with the foundational goal to provide “opportunity for anyone in the community to play a part in something special” said Margie Bordovsky, Owner and Director of NWA Conservatory of Classical Ballet.

The production has continued to evolve, accommodating growing interest, participation, and attendance. In 2020, as many Nutcracker productions were cancelled, The Conservatory partnered with NWA Ballet Theatre and Arkansas Public Theater to present a safe, virtual version of the performance, Nutcracker: Home For The Holiday. The Conservatory tracked viewership across the country and internationally in Canada and France. Kelsey Howard, Program Director at Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange, applauded The Conservatory’s commitment: “While [2020] may feel like a re-imagining of the Nutcracker for your creative team and dancers, it's affirming and exciting to know that it will also be the first  version for some audience members like my four year old daughter.”

Jennifer James Davis, Conservatory Principal and former dancer with Tulsa Ballet, returns as Artistic Director for the 2021 production. “The Conservatory is thrilled to be able to partner with the Northwest Arkansas community of dancers once again in our traditional live, full-length Nutcracker,” said Davis, “I know that our audiences will be captivated and inspired by the talent this region has to offer as they partake in this magical holiday tradition.”

Since their reopening, The Conservatory has prioritized safe rehearsal environments for staff and students.  Implemented in collaboration with a UAMS advisory team, safety measures for cast, such as masks during all rehearsals, enhanced cleaning, and studio air filtration are being strictly enforced. For the live performances, all patrons are strongly encouraged to wear masks.

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening performances range in price from $25-$35 and can be purchased beginning October 18th at