Nashville's Nutcracker Youth Cast Theater Guidelines


What to expect:

  • You will drop your child off at the stage door and pick them up at the stage door of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). This entrance is located on Union Street between 5th and 6th Avenue.
  • Only performers scheduled for each specific performance are allowed in the backstage area. Chaperones stay in the dressing area; Nashville Ballet staff will see children to the stage.
  • Your child should come with their hair and makeup done and bring their makeup kit with them. There will be a professional dresser to help with makeup touch-ups in the dressing rooms, along with chaperones.
  • Children in the youth cast should always have practice clothes (tights and leotard) and ballet slippers with them at the theater. These should be kept in their dance bag at all times.
  • Children must remove makeup before leaving the theater, so plan to have baby wipes or facial cleansing cloths in their dance bag. It is not appropriate for performers to be seen leaving the theater or in the audience looking as if they just performed.
  • If your child is going to ride home with someone other than yourself, you must turn in a permission form the day of the performance.
  • If you are watching the performance, you have several options to choose from:
    • Send a note that your child will wait backstage and be picked up at the end of the performance. This applies to Party Scene, Battle Scene and Garden Fairies.
    • Act II children can be dropped off early, so you can get to your seats.
    • Act I children can be picked up at the stage door during intermission and watch Act II with you, provided you have purchased them a ticket to sit with you. These children must have their makeup off and not look like they performed in the show. Pack street clothes for them to wear.


  • Children will be asked to perform without their glasses. We will begin this process in rehearsals in the studio and then at the theater to ensure they are comfortable dancing without them.
  • Please send wipes with your child so they can remove their makeup before leaving the theater. In a professional setting, dancers never leave the theater in makeup. This is especially important if your child is joining you in the audience to watch the rest of the performance.
  • The costumes your child will wear on stage are a major asset of Nashville Ballet’s organization. We ask that all dancers (professional and youth cast) respect and treat their costumes properly. They should never be altered by anyone other than the costume shop and there is never any eating or drinking in costume.
  • We use alternate casts in Nashville's Nutcracker to be sure to cover all the performances while giving more children an opportunity to perform. Should a cast member become sick during the performances, we will try to call in their alternate. Please keep this in mind when you look at the schedule and you are making plans for the days you do not perform. We appreciate your availability should we need to ask your child to perform.
  • IMPORTANT! Due to our contracts with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and our copyright licenses, we do not sell videos of our production. During the performance dress rehearsals, our professional photographers will take photos. They make every effort to get as many youth cast member shots as possible. Following the performances, you will be sent a link to those pictures and information on ordering prints if you would like. Youth cast members are encouraged to take their own photos in the dressing rooms. Photos are NOT permitted while rehearsing or performing on stage!


You don’t want your dancer to miss a performance because of a cold or flu. Here are some tips that should help safeguard your young dancer from falling ill during this exciting time of the year.


  • When coming to and from rehearsals and performances, please make sure your child is wearing a jacket/coat, athletic pants and street shoes to protect from the cold weather.
  • Ballet slippers should never be worn outside the building. This helps keep their feet warmer as well as protecting the floor and stage that they perform on. Tracked in dirt makes the floor slick and difficult to dance on.
  • If weather is wet, please make sure students are properly suited to stay dry.
  • Clearly labeling your dancer’s name in any clothing, ballet shoes and dance bags is helpful for keeping track of what goes home with whom. 

Food & Drink:

  • IMPORTANT! Send healthy snacks and water with your dancer. Make sure your child is sent to the theater with a FULL bottle of water! There is limited access to water fountains at TPAC. Granola bars, trail mix, fresh fruit and veggies make excellent snacks between class and rehearsals.
  • Avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages.
  • There is not a refrigerator for use, so please do not send food or drinks that would spoil if left out.

Hygiene/Personal Items:

  • Please remind your child about the importance of hand washing! It’s our best defense against passing germs. Travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer are excellent additions to their dance bag.
  • Remind your dancer to not share water bottles, makeup, hairbrushes or any other germ carrying personal items.
  • Share with your child the benefit of covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze. Coughing or sneezing into an elbow is a proven way to help keep germs at bay.
  • Please have your child use deodorant at the appropriate age (usually 10 years old). Each costume is shared during the production and is not cleaned until the show is over. Deodorant helps keep the costumes fresh and dry throughout the month of use.