All Thriller, No Filler

“The Nutcracker,” one of the longest standing Christmas traditions among American ballet dancers and audiences since the late 1960s, is getting a makeover from Studio 321’s Ballet Directors David and Sarah Goud and Ballet Indiana.

The ballet academy’s adaptation of the 1892 E.T.A. Hoffmann story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” which normally is a two-act ballet, is condensed to one hour and gives every Studio 321 dancer a chance to take the lead.

The Ballet Academy at Studio 321 has offered comprehensive pre-professional ballet training for serious-minded dancers or recreational dancers ages 3 to adult since July 2014. David and Sarah, who also are artistic directors of Ballet Indiana, a nonprofit organization that sponsors performances, teach up to 80 students a week on the studio’s specially engineered dance floors.

“We’ve made an adaptation where Clara, who is usually the star little girl of ‘The Nutcracker,’ is now a grandmother and when her grandchildren are going through the attic on Christmas Eve, they find the magic chest where she has stored the nutcracker,” says David. “The nutcracker has since enchanted this chest and made it a portal to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets.”

“Sarah had the great idea to make every little girl Clara in our adaptation,” says David. “We have like a wolf pack of little girls who are all Clara’s grandchildren, all going on this journey, and vicariously the audience will go with them.”

To transform a two-part ballet into a one-part, one-hour performance, the Gouds decided to only include the most popular “Nutcracker” musical selections.

The Studio 321 performances of “The Nutcracker,” which the Gouds titled “The Nutcracker Sweet,” are at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and 2 p.m. Dec. 6 at AIS the Diamond Center (formerly North High School).

For more information about Studio 321, visit

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