Q & A with Ron Cunningham: 30 Years of Nutcracker Tradition

‘Nutcracker’ director’s farewell is no swan song


One half of Sacramento Ballet’s Artistic Director team, Ron Cunningham, sat down recently with Debbie Arrington of the Sacramento Bee, to talk about his iconic production, The Nutcracker.

Cunningham said:

We see “The Nutcracker” through multiple lenses. As a tradition, it’s one thing we return to year after year after year. Besides that tradition for audiences, it’s a chance for professional dancers to assess their progress. There are so many roles! If you dance for five or 10 years with a company, you will rotate through almost all of them. It’s a way to push yourself and improve your skills. A real spark-plug type, who might be a natural for perky fast roles, could stretch (her) skills through a part with more artistry.

And doesn’t every professional dancer, when you get right down to it, aren’t they dancing now because they were inspired by “The Nutcracker”? I want our dancers to remember they’re role models, that youngsters are watching them. This is their opportunity to pass it forward. Those children may not become professional dancers, but they can learn to love dance.


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