ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester area is getting ready to welcome ballerinas from across the state for New York State Ballet’s upcoming Nutcracker production which is being hosted at Roberts Wesleyan’s Hale Auditorium.

NYSB Director Katie Johnson explains this year there will be a live orchestra and choir for every performance.

“It’s the classic story. We’ve really stayed true to the fibers of Tchaikovsky’s work with Clara receiving her beloved Nutcracker from her Uncle Drosselmeyer. And from there, all the magic unfolds,” Johnson said.

Rena Bernardini is a ballerina performing in the show and has been since she was 7 years old.

“It’s a really special part of my holiday, but I think the best part about being a dancer is being able to bring joy to other people, especially at such a special time of year,” Bernardini said.

This year’s performance is especially exciting because there will be returning cast members as well as fresh new faces.

“We’re premiering dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem this year. Our Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by Kamala Saara. And for Rochester, this is a first because typically when you go to the ballet, it’s very stereotypical that you’ll see a white ballerina dancing the lead role as sugar plum, and we’re really trying to like change the face of classical ballet here in the local community, and hopefully beyond. You’re gonna see some really wonderful stars such as Derek Brockington. He’s also a principal dancer, from Dance Theatre of Harlem, and our Nutcracker Prince this year is going to be danced by Keith Justin Reese. I have many young aspiring students that are just so excited to see a cast with brand new faces that really reflects the times,” Johnson said.

Along with the new faces, this year, the ballet company is also adding a sensory-friendly show. 

“It’s a one-hour performance, it’s great for a really young audience. We’re actually going to be bringing the music down and we’re going to keep the audience at half capacity. So this is for anyone who has any kind of anxieties to come to the theater, it’s just very welcoming,” Johnson said. 

Ticket prices range from $15 to $65, and performances will be taking place December 15-18. For tickets, you can visit the Roberts Wesleyan’s Box Office by clicking here.