New ‘Nutcracker’ variation explores India

OMAHA — November 11, 2019 —  Classical dance of India will make its debut in American Midwest Ballet’s holiday favorite, The Nutcracker.

For the first time, Midwest audiences – along with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince – will be entertained by an India-themed variation.

“I am delighted that India will be celebrated in dance alongside the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian, French, and other traditional variations,” says artistic director, Erika Overturff.

Dancers from Viswanatya Niketan, an Omaha-based school of classical Indian dance directed by Usha Devaraju, will perform the variation in India’s Bharatanatyam style of dance. [Photo features dancers from Arathi School of Indian Dance, San Antonio.]

Bharatanatyam is the oldest style of Indian classical dance, with documented roots as early as the 6th century CE.  It is also India’s most popular classical dance form, noted for its brilliant, intricate footwork.  As with classical ballet, Bharatanatyam uses a stylized vocabulary of gestures to convey specific meanings.

The music used in the new work is “an unearthed gem from Tchaikovsky’s original Nutcracker score that finally gets its turn in the spotlight,” says Overturff.

The variation will also feature brilliantly adorned new costumes made with colorful silks and jewelry crafted in India.


The Nutcracker will usher in the holiday season with a special pre-Thanksgiving performance at Iowa Western Arts Center on Sunday, November 24 at 2 pm, followed by a three-show run December 7 and 8 at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, and a tour to San Antonio, Texas.

Tickets for Arts Center-IWCC are available at or by calling (712) 388-7140.

Tickets for the Orpheum Theater are available at or by calling (402) 345-0606.

For ticket links and more information, visit

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