Understated excellence from José Mateo Ballet

The Dream Fairies get busy.

Though it’s a silver celebration for the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, as the troupe celebrates 25 years of “The Nutcracker,” you’d hardly know it by looking at the environment where the piece is being performed.

Set in its unique home in Harvard Square’s Sanctuary Theatre, simple sets strip away the pomp and circumstance from the show, leaving the audience to enjoy the heart of the show — the choreography.

Snow Queen (Emma Ward) floats across the floor with grace and strong technique as she is paired with not one, but four Snow Princes. At times, the small stage seems overcrowded for such a big theatrical scene, but it works.

Without a doubt, the stars of the night are the youngest dancers, led by Cecilia Zevallos. Not only are they great dancers, they’re great actors. With an audience capped at 250, there is no room for mistakes. Party children are quick-thinking on their feet, little mice give their best “death” and the Polichinelles seem to really enjoy the adrenaline of being onstage.

Who should see it?

This is a perfect holiday date night. Impress the ballet lover in your life in this intimate up-close setting (without breaking the bank).

Multiple venues

Enjoy the show in Harvard Square this week or next week at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre.

If you go


José Mateo Ballet Theatre presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Through Dec. 16

The Sanctuary Theatre

400 Harvard St., Harvard Square, Cambridge

$15-$50, 617-354-7467



Dec. 22-24

The Strand Theatre

543 Columbia Road


$15-$50, 617-354-7467  



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