New York City Ballet Stars Take the Stage in UNCSA’s Storied Production of “The Nutcracker”

The University of North Carolina’s (UNCSA) beloved “Nutcracker” will continue its tradition of bringing world-class ballet stars to Winston-Salem as guest artists in the production. New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen will visit Winston-Salem to take on the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier Prince on Wednesday and Thursday, December 18 and 19.

Sara Mearns, hailed as “one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the world,” by The New York Times, trained at the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet.  A native of Columbia, South Carolina, she became an apprentice at the New York City Ballet in 2003, a member of the corps de ballet in 2004, a Soloist in 2006 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2008. Her entire professional career has been in New York City. Also a student of the School of American Ballet, Russell Janzen has been with the New York City Ballet since 2007 when he joined as an apprentice.  He became a member of the corps in 2008 and was promoted to Soloist in 2014, the same year that he was heralded on New York Times’ dance critic Alastair McCauley’s list of top male dance performances for his role in Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbündlertänze.” Originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, he has been a Principal Dancer since 2017.

“We are particularly thrilled to offer two Principal Dancers from the New York City Ballet as guest dancers in our annual production of ‘The Nutcracker,’” said UNCSA Dean of Dance Susan Jaffe. “Sara and Russell are among America’s premier ballet dancers and will showcase their world-class technique and artistry in Winston-Salem. Seeing them is an opportunity not to miss,” continued Jaffe. “They are not only sure to captivate our audiences but will also bring invaluable inspiration and instruction to our UNCSA students.”

The full performance schedule for the UNCSA production of “The Nutcracker” is: December 13 at 7:30 p.m.; December 14 at Noon and 5:30 p.m.; December 15 at 2 p.m.; December 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m. December 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and December 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets for “The Nutcracker” are now available at the Stevens Center Box Office, by phone at (336) 721-1945 or online at

Ticket prices are: Prime Orchestra, $83; Orchestra Center, $61 for adults and $40 for children 13 and under; Orchestra Sides and Front Balcony, $51 for adults and $35 for children 13 and under; Center Balcony, $38 for adults and $28 for children 13 and under; Rear Balcony, $29 for adults and $24 for children 13 and under. Ticket prices include a 6.75 percent North Carolina entertainment sales tax and box office processing fee.



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