SALT LAKE CITY, UT—February 21, 2019—Ballet West and BYUtv are thrilled to announce they will broadcast Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker in fall/winter of 2019 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this iconic production, America’s first Nutcracker. Supplemental footage during the production will honor this landmark occasion with historical film and interviews from those who know the Christensen legacy on dance in America. Filming was made possible, in part, through the generosity of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, which awarded $100,000 to the project.

“Our focus at BYUtv is to cultivate co-viewing experiences for kids and parents to enjoy together,” said BYUtv Managing Director Michael Dunn. “Every holiday season, The Nutcracker has been just that for generations of families in Utah and around the world, and we’re honored that our network will now be able to share Ballet West’s iconic production with millions of people all across America, right in their own homes.”

BYUtv is a family entertainment television network reaching 50 million households across the country via cable, satellite and streaming.

“Attending The Nutcracker has been a special part of our family’s holiday tradition for decades, just as it has for so many others,” said Lisa Eccles, Eccles Foundation President and COO. “We see this as a milestone moment, and we’re proud to be able to help Ballet West’s Nutcracker spread its wings and present this extraordinary Utah production to a global audience. We’re honored to bring this story to life in ways that Mr. Christensen only dreamed might be possible.”

Utah native and Ballet West founder, Mr. Willam Christensen (known fondly as Mr. C) staged the first full-length version of The Nutcracker in the U.S. in 1944 as the Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet. In 1955, he returned to Utah to open the first fully accredited ballet school at the University of Utah and continued his Nutcracker tradition there until he founded Ballet West.

“I am grateful and honored the Eccles Foundation has once again recognized the worldwide appeal of this magical production, which beautifully showcases Ballet West and highlights the rich legacy of art and culture in Utah,” said Adam Sklute, Ballet West Artistic Director. “From Mr. C’s first American incarnation, The Nutcracker is now a phenomenon, which permeates our culture bringing joy to millions each year and helping to sustain ballet companies across the country.”

Ballet West’s full production will be captured by BYUtv, featuring stunning professional dancers and adorable children performing Mr. C’s choreography, as well as fantastical new sets, costumes and special effects that premiered in 2017, thanks also to the generosity of the Eccles Foundation. “From the moment we approached BYUtv, their team has been ecstatic to tell this intricate, historic and important story,” said Ballet West Executive Director Michael Scolamiero. “I am thrilled to have a broadcast partner who is committed to the arts and recognizes what a beautiful and special production this is and the importance of sharing it with a wider audience.”

Ballet West invites the community to participate in the 75th anniversary celebration. There are a variety of giving levels which may include donor’s names and organizations to be recognized in the BYUtv documentary. For more information, click here

Joshua Jones, Ballet West Director of Communications | 801-414-4101