Columbia County Ballet dancers will bring the magic of Christmas to a different stage this year.
The 13th annual New Nutcracker will return Saturday to the Imperial Theatre at 749 Broad St.
"It does seem to start off the holidays really nicely, and it's good to be back at the Imperial," said Ron Jones, the ballet's artistic director. "We haven't performed there for a good while.
"It makes it more festive and goes with the production so much better, I think."
Since 2006, the ballet has scheduled its rendition of The Nutcracker at the Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans.
The ballet started to look for a new venue after problems emerged with the theater's technical company.
Jones became dissatisfied with Moretz Production Service for what he said were high costs and a negative attitude toward the ballet's volunteers.
Jones said the Imperial Theatre's stage is also larger, which lends itself to a larger cast.
Also new to this year's production is a costume for the "drew drop" role.
"When you hear the music and you see the costumes and see the dance, it just brings you into that whole holiday feeling," Jones said.
The matinee performance will start at 3 p.m.
Tchaikovsky's music will set the scene for the ballet, which follows a young girl's transformation into a woman.
The girl, Clara, also sees her toy nutcracker doll turn into a prince and goes with him on a magical journey into the Snow Forest and Land of Sweets.
"I have never tired of the Tchaikovsky music," Jones said. "It's just magical to me, and when I hear it I think of Christmas."
Ticket prices range from $20 to $25 based on seating in the theater.
For information, visit www.columbia countyballet.com.
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