A beloved holiday tradition, Nashville’s Nutcracker features approximately 300 youth cast members from School of Nashville Ballet and the surrounding community dancing alongside the professional artists in Nashville Ballet’s Company, as well as the Nashville Symphony. Roles range from darling Clara to the adorable bear cavalry and everything in between.

Nashville Ballet will hold open auditions for children to join the youth cast for Nashville's Nutcracker on the dates below. Mandatory rehearsals will begin on October 26, 2019. 

  • Sunday, August 18, 2019

  • Sunday, August 25, 2019

  • Sunday, September 8, 2019

It is only necessary to audition once. Children in each audition will receive equal consideration. Audition results will be emailed Wednesday, September 18.

What to Bring

  • $10 non-refundable audition fee

  • 4"x 6" full-body photograph

Age Requirements

Children must be 8 years old by December 31, 2019 to audition. Auditions are open to the community - no dance experience required! Children ages 12 and up must be students enrolled in School of Nashville Ballet.


Skip the line the day of the audition and pre-register below! There is a non-refundable $10 audition fee. Walk-up's are also welcome the day of your audition.


All auditions will be located at School of Nashville Ballet's campus, 3630 Redmon Street, Nashville, TN 37209.

Audition Group Registration Time Audition Time
Boys Ages 8-11* 11 - 11:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. - noon
Girls 8 & 9 years old*
11 a.m. - noon Noon - 1 p.m.
Girls 10 & 11 years old Noon - 1 p.m. 1 - 2 p.m.
Girls and boys 12+ years old
(Nashville Ballet students ONLY)
1 - 2 p.m. 2 - 3 p.m.

*Children must be 8 years old by December 31, 2019 to audition. 

Important Dates to Remember:

  • September 18 - Audition Results & Preliminary Schedule Emailed

  • September 27 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. - Mandatory First-Time Youth Cast Parent Meeting

  • October 26-27 - Mandatory Weekend Rehearsals Begin

  • November 6 - Performance Assignments & Schedule Emailed

  • Week of November 11 - Mandatory Weeknight Rehearsals Begin

  • Week of December 2 - Theater Rehearsals Begin at TPAC

  • December 7 - Nashville's Nutcracker Performances Begin

Nashville's Nutcracker Youth CAst Frequently Asked Questions


What should parents and children expect at the audition?
 At the audition, children will be taught sequences of steps from various age appropriate youth cast roles. The children will be evaluated on their ability to learn and execute these steps. The atmosphere of our audition is light and fun, because we know children are usually nervous. The steps they are required to execute are not difficult.

What is the appropriate audition attire and behavior?
Girls should audition in a solid color leotard and pink tights. Boys may wear a t-shirt (not over-sized) and shorts. Girls should have their hair neatly secured in a bun. Ballet slippers are preferred; however, children who do not own ballet slippers may audition in sock or another style of dance shoe. Pointe shoes are not required for any youth cast roles. Dance sneakers should not be worn for the audition. Children auditioning should be quiet and attentive during the entire audition. NO chewing gum will be allowed.

Why are photographs required for my child to audition?
The photographs will be attached to your child’s audition form to provide a quick reference point to help Nashville Ballet’s artistic staff remember your child. The photograph does not have to be professional.

My child is 9 years old and will turn 10 two days after the audition. Which age group should he/she audition with?
Your child should register and audition within the age group he or she falls under on the day of the audition.


How and when do we find out if my child has been cast?
All children will receive an email notifying them of whether or not they received a role. Emails will be sent on mid September.
NOTE: Make sure to add Nashville Ballet to your address book or trusted sender list to make sure you receive our email.

 How many children will receive parts?
More than 200 youth will be cast in Nashville’s Nutcracker.

Will my child be in all 15 performances of Nashville's Nutcracker?
Not all youth cast members appear in every performance.

What are the youth cast roles like?
Youth cast members find this experience fun, rewarding and unlike any other! Some roles include more dancing than others, but they all incorporate movement, mime and emotion. It is a great performance opportunity to see behind the scenes, work closely with a professional company, including dancers, choreographers, production members and other staff.

Scheduling & Time Commitment

We have made every effort to provide a manageable and efficient rehearsal schedule. In light of that, all rehearsals and performances are mandatory. Conflicts with events, travel or other activities are not allowed. We ask that if you have any known conflicts that you please plan to make arrangements for your child to attend rehearsals or reconsider auditioning.

How long do rehearsals last?
Rehearsals will last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the role your child is cast in.

When do rehearsals begin and what is the schedule?      

The first rehearsal will be Saturday, October 26, 2019. Rehearsals on weekends will continue for the next three to four weeks with the following schedule:

Children cast in Act I of the ballet will rehearse on the following days: October 26, October 27, November 2 and November 9. Children cast in Act II of the ballet will rehearsal the same days plus one additional Saturday on November 16.

After November 11, children cast in Act I will rehearse on weekdays with the company. Children cast in Act II will rehearse on weekdays with the company following their final Saturday rehearsal.

Not all of the youth cast roles or groups are called every day of the week during these rehearsals. Weeknight rehearsals at the studio are always between 4-6 p.m. Studio rehearsals with the company will continue until the production goes to theater.

Beginning the week of December 2, all youth cast rehearsals will move to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) for technical rehearsals and performances.       

 Why do the studio rehearsals change from weekends to weeknights?

Getting the children ready for performances is a layering process. The first step in the process is Saturday and Sunday rehearsals. These take place over three to four weekends from early- to late-afternoon and are necessary for teaching the material and practicing it. These rehearsals are with the youth cast only.

The second step in the process brings together the youth cast and the professional dancers in our Company, allowing us to begin to put the entire production together. These rehearsals are scheduled during weeknights to accommodate the professional dancers' schedule. These rehearsals take place 4–6 p.m. These rehearsals are assigned by cast color and are no more than two times within a week. These are the few weeks right before going to the theater.

What about Thanksgiving?
The Thanksgiving break will be Wednesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 1. Please keep this in mind when making holiday and travel plans.

How much of a time commitment will the Nashville’s Nutcracker be for our family?

All rehearsals and performances are mandatory. There are no conflicts allowed and absences will result in dismissal from the production. Parents will be asked to chaperone at the theater. One benefit to working with a professional ballet company is that the rehearsal schedules are set and will not change. Most families find that the experience is well worth the time commitment. 

If this is your child’s first year participating in the Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast, one parent will be required to attend a mandatory parent meeting on:

·         Friday, September 27 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Nashville Ballet (3630 Redmon Street, Nashville, TN 37209)

Please note that parents can send a proxy to the meeting and children need not attend.

We are planning a family trip that would fall on the same day as a rehearsal or performance. Can my child still participate?
No. If you have a family conflict (wedding, anniversary, reunion, etc.) with a Nashville’s Nutcracker rehearsal, you should consider NOT auditioning for the youth cast. If you do decide to audition, be prepared to arrange for your child to attend rehearsal.

If you are unsure about a conflict, please email or call (615) 297-0287.

Costs To Participate

What does it cost to audition?
There is a non-refundable $10 fee to audition. 

Will there be any other participation costs besides the audition fee?
Yes. There will be a non-refundable costume cleaning and chaperone fee of $30 per child due with acceptance of your role. Some roles require youth cast members to provide part of their costumes, such as ballet shoes or tights. 

Additional Questions?

If you have questions about the Nashville's Nutcracker youth cast, please contact us at (615) 297-0287 or

Youth Cast Parent Testimonials

"The whole experience was just fantastic for our daughter - to see her self confidence blossom and to see her dreaming of her own potential dancing career - is just priceless."

"Being part of a professional production of this ballet is absolutely the best part. My son loved seeing the company dancers and getting to be behind the scenes."

"It was a life time opportunity for my son to participate in such a great production and learn about an totally unknown activity for him. The whole family was involved in the process [...] and it was wonderful to see how confident, excited and committed he was through the rehearsal and performances."

"Our daughter is developing work ethic, making and following through with her commitments, and developing the social and communication skills to be part of a team. The best part of all of this is being able to work with the professionals that she looks up to so much."

"This is the highlight of my daughter's year every year!"