[image-1]You think you’ve seen The Nutcracker before, but wait until you see the Spanish hot chocolate Argentinian tango and the peppermint ribbon dancers in the Columbia City Ballet’s version.

The ballet’s director William Starrett has taken the show and added even more sweetness (plus a slight Southern twang). “We try to change it up a bit every year but keep the things that shouldn’t be taken out, like the Sugarplum Fairy,” says Starrett. “If it’s not broke then don’t fix it.” The grand production features 200 performers, 600 costumes, and 50 local ballet students.

Starrett, who’s held his post at the ballet for 27 years, takes some artistic liberties with the classic, even including a guest appearance by Scarlett O’Hara in the first act. And as only one of three productions in America that includes men in the snow scene, this Nutcracker’s elegant snowflakes are tossed and caught delicately — something only possible in the world of ballet.

See it on Fri. Dec. 6 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center or on Tues. Dec. 17 at the Sottile Theatre.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.