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Nutcracker on the Lagoon

The Indian River comes alive in local twist on Christmas classic

Adam Schnell, Ballet Vero Beach’s artistic director and CEO, rehearses the company’s professional dancers 
for the production. Photo by Jim Williams

Adam Schnell, Ballet Vero Beach’s artistic director and CEO, rehearses the company’s professional dancers for the production. Photo by Jim Williams

Swirling snowflakes, dancing sandhill cranes and clacking land crabs. It doesn’t get any better than that, and thanks to Adam Schnell, you can see them all pirouetting and prancing across the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center stage on Dec. 29 and 30. 

While the founder and artistic director of Ballet Vero Beach has long been known for making magic, this time he waved his imaginative wand over a holiday treasure and created Nutcracker on the Indian River. Schnell’s version of the Christmas classic is unlike any other. It’s fanciful, fun, and you don’t want to miss it. 

As Schnell says, unable to contain his enthusiasm, “It’s a unique Vero Beach production with a local spin that’s been a long time coming, and with this being Ballet Vero Beach’s fifth year anniversary, we’re finally at the point where we could do it.”

While the familiar score retains all the whimsy and wonder of the original 1892 ballet, Schnell chose to set the story in 1919 — the year Vero Beach was chartered. With an additional touch of artistic license, he has named the young heroine Marie.