After missing last year because of COVID, Tchiakovsky's Nutcracker ballet returned to Billings on Saturday.
The Billings Symphony invited the San Diego Ballet and local dancers from the School of Classical Ballet in Billings to perform "The Nutcracker"
This is the first year all three shows have sold out, with more than 4,000 expected to attend, according to Symphony management.
The first performance was Saturday afternoon, with another scheduled for the evening and the last on Sunday afternoon.
The Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition in Billings for more than 50 years.
"Every year, you keep it interesting, find new moments, new nuances that keep the show alive year after year," said Matt Carney, executive director of the San Diego Ballet. "And I think working with the Billings Symphony Orchestra, it's so nice to work with live musicians because it keeps the show alive."
"It's a great opportunity for the local dancers who are mostly children in training to see these professional ballerinas," said Leslie Blair, Billings Symphony board president. "And to be inspired to maybe someday be in a ballet troupe such as the San Diego Ballet. The Nutcracker really captures the spirit of Christmas, the tree families getting together and the joy of a little boy and girl and I think everybody can relate to the Nutcracker."
The San Diego Ballet has performed in Billings for 15 years.