The Darien Art Center's Dance Department presents their annual production of "Scenes from the Nutcracker." The Tchaikovsky holiday classic is abbreviated to an hour-long narrated show specifically for young audiences. Children sit up close for the show and are invited to meet and greet the characters after the performance.

The show, a Darien favorite since 2003, presents an introduction to attending dance performances.

"The Nutcracker was written for children," DAC Dance Director and show choreographer Bonnie Gombos said. "It's an adventure that also happens to invite audiences to see different kinds of dancing. The original is just a bit long for little ones, and I don't want them to miss out."

This year's production features Chris Smalley, DAC theatre director and teacher, as the mystical Uncle Drosselmeyer. Current DAC ballet student Elena Uttley performs as Clara, his favorite niece, who receives a magical Nutcracker doll for Christmas. The dances consist of members from the dance department's junior, senior and adult companies.

Performances will take place at the DAC Weatherstone Studio at 2 Renshaw Road, behind town hall. Show times are Saturday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18, at noon and 3 p.m. Tickets are $10, one free adult per child. Call the DAC box office at 203-655-8414, or email for reservations.

Founded in 1975, the Darien Arts Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing visual and performing arts programs and events for the community. The DAC offers educational programs in dance, visual arts, theatre and music and performances by the Darien Players and Cabaret Theatre. The organization is funded by private donations, tuition fees and ticket sales. For moreinformation, call 203-655-8683 or visit

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