The ballet known for inspiring Christmas spirit is celebrating its 20th year in Halifax.

The Nutcracker, performed by Symphony Nova Scotia, The Young Company of Halifax Dance and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, opens Friday.

“It’s the time of year when everybody wants some magic,” said Leica Hardy, the show’s artistic director. “For a lot of families it’s become one of their annual Christmas outings.”

It’s a show that works for young and old, she added. It’s an imaginative story filled with colourful puppets, ballet dancers, and of course, the very recognizable music.

“We have tweaked some choreography this year ... it might not be overtly obvious to someone who doesn’t know the show well.”

Gay Hauser, who plays the role of the headmistress, has been involved in the show since the beginning. She said of the cast of about 40: “Some of them live for it every year, and it’s a big part of their lives.”

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