Tacoma City Ballet will bring “The Nutcracker and The Tale of the Hard Nut” to the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center from Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 21-23.

Tacoma City Ballet brings tradition, economic clout to Federal Way

The arts can be a critical economic driver for communities like Federal Way, which just opened a new Performing Arts and Event Center.

According to a study by Americans for the Arts, the average local arts patron will spend $19.53 beyond the show’s ticket price, while attendees from outside the region will spend about $40 beyond the cost of a show.

Keep this in mind when the Tacoma City Ballet brings “The Nutcracker” and “Cinderella” to Federal Way this season. After 33 years at the Pantages Theater, the ballet company’s signature shows are moving 12 miles up the road to Federal Way’s Performing Arts and Event Center.

The relocation is a result of a 10-day rental limit at the Pantages that ended up limiting ticket revenue, said Erin Ceragioli, artistic director for Tacoma City Ballet. She said Tacoma City Ballet has generated nearly $3 million every Christmas season in downtown Tacoma.

“People come down there, they go to shops, they spend their money,” she said, adding that the ballet’s audience is loyal. “Our audience from Tacoma will follow us. That economic generation that we had in Tacoma will now go to Federal Way.”

Ceragioli is excited to be part of the PAEC’s official resident dance company. She said the Federal Way facility comes with perks like a bigger stage and bigger orchestra pit along with on-site catering and convenient parking for patrons.

“We will be performing in Federal Way as often as we possibly can,” she said. “The Tacoma City Ballet is thrilled to be here.”

The actual show that’s coming to Federal Way in December is called “The Nutcracker and The Tale of the Hard Nut.” Ceragioli said Tacoma City Ballet puts a different spin on the classic ballet written by Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky – by recreating the original scenery and costumes through painstaking research.

“Our sets are what you saw in Russia in 1892,” she said. “It tells this whole beautiful story, and it’s still the “Nutcracker” music, just put in a different order. It is the only one in the United States that would have original scenery and costumes.”

“The Nutcracker” stands the test of time because of its association with the holidays, she said, noting that it is the most attended ballet in the country.

“For a lot of our families, ‘Nutcracker’ has become a family tradition,” she said. “It’s cross-generational – it goes from the very old to very young. It appeals to everybody.”

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