School of dance’s “Nutcracker”

The Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) concludes its 20th anniversary season with its annual Nutcracker performances in December.

This year’s production features a record 170 dancers and, as special guests in the role of Mother Ginger, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode.

Performances are Dec. 14 and 15 at Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th St.

The 90-minute production follows Clara, Fritz and the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer from the family holiday party and the midnight battle with the Mouse King and his troops through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.

There will also be pre-ballet holiday show showcases where 70 of HPSD’s youngest ballet students will perform. A Sugar Plum Tea featuring costumed characters and catered treats takes place after the Dec. 15 matinee.

On Friday, Dec. 13, HPSD performs an abridged version for more than 800 school children, many of whom will be seeing their first ballet. The performance is part of HPSD’s STEPS (Serve, Train, Educate, Promote, Succeed) community engagement program.

Tickets and information are available at 773-493-8498 or events/nutcracker.html.