Ballet Petit, a classical ballet school in Hayward, will celebrate 40 years of performing
The Nutcracker Sat., Dec. 1 and Sun., Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Chabot College’s
Reed L. Buffington Performing Arts Center.
This annual holiday tradition will include more than 200 Ballet Petit dancers from
beginners to pre-professional to professional dancers under the direction of artistic
director and the ballet school’s founder, Peggy Peabody. The two-hour performance
will include beautiful costumes, painted backdrops, and wonderful choreography
transforming the stage into an old-fashioned Christmas party, a battle with mice, a
snowy wonderland and the Land of Sweets reigned by the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Following 2 p.m. shows, the “Stars of the Show” (advanced dancers/lead roles) will
be in front of the theater for autographs and photo opportunities. During intermission
there will be free cookies for the audience.
Ballet Petit has grown immensely since its first Nutcracker 40 years ago.
After ending her studies at the San Francisco Ballet School, Peabody, aka “Miss
Peggy,” started teaching ballet at her mother’s nursery school in Fremont in 1977. She
directed her first production of The Nutcracker in 1978 with 12 young ballerinas from
the preschool. The dancers wore their own party dresses. The nutcracker doll was a
cardboard coloring book cover glued to a furry blue snake stuffed toy. Stage wings
were made with shower curtains. The audience was given hand-written programs. And
the performance lasted 20 minutes. Nonetheless, it was a hit.
Every year, Miss Peggy kept dreaming of a bigger and more sophisticated production.
Over the next few decades, the dancers grew stronger, the program moved onto local
school stages, and choreography and costumes began to evolve. Within a few years,
dancers were able to perform The Nutcracker as a full-length work and became
experienced enough to perform en pointe. Parents began helping out with the shows
and before long it became a production worthy of a real stage.
About 22 years ago, Ballet Petit started performing The Nutcracker at the Reed L.
Buffington Performing Arts Center at Chabot College in Hayward. Artist Michelle
Climent painted beautiful backdrops for the production. Professional male dancers,
many from the Oakland Ballet Company, started performing with the more advanced
Ballet Petit students in the Pas de Deuxs of the ballet, adding a level of
professionalism which encouraged the cast to keep working hard. The hard work has
paid off. Audience members often mistake the teenage student dancers for hired
professionals, while loving the charm of the younger dancers.
Don’t miss this magical production of The Nutcracker!
Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children and seniors (65 and over) and there’s a
10 percent discount for purchases of 10 or more. To purchase tickets or for more
information about the show and Ballet Petit go to: www.balletpetit.com.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children and seniors
We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.