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Philadelphia Ballet and Independence Blue Cross host a special pop-up event and character appearance to officially kick off the 55th year of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®

George Balanchine’s holiday tradition returns to the Philadelphia Ballet December 8-30 with presenting sponsor, Independence Blue Cross

Philadelphia Ballet proudly presents the return of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, a dazzling holiday classic featuring over 170 dancers, and many other artists including those of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra who bring Tchaikovsky’s score to life at every performance. The Nutcracker opens December 8 and runs through December 30 at the Academy of Music.

This season’s run of 31 performances includes a student performance (December 14 at 11a.m.) and a sensory friendly performance (December 26 at noon). The Nutcracker is one of the company’s most enchanting productions and is also one of the most complex ballets in the company’s repertoire. Tickets, starting at $25 for all performances and just $10 for opening night, are now available at

The Nutcracker is our company’s largest and most dazzling production, featuring 47 company dancers and 130 students from the School of Philadelphia Ballet, School of Philadelphia Ballet – New Jersey, and the Metropolitan Ballet Academy, in more than150 breathtaking costumes,” said Angel Corella, The Ruth & A. Morris Williams, Jr. Artistic Director. “There is so much that goes into each performance and our entire company, from the Principal dancers to our youngest students, work extremely hard to bring the magic of The Nutcracker to life for our audiences. With hundreds of roles, exquisite set designs and mesmerizing music, there’s something new to discover in every performance.”

The 2023 Philadelphia Ballet production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® is made possible by Independence Blue Cross.

“Philadelphia Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker is a cultural staple of the holiday season in the city. As the region’s hometown health insurer for 85 years, Independence Blue Cross is proud to be a long-standing supporter of the Philadelphia Ballet and the presenting sponsor for this treasured tradition,” said Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.

Philadelphia Ballet and Independence Blue Cross hosted a special holiday event at IBX headquarters on Market Street to celebrate the official start of the holiday season and the 55th year of Philadelphia Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker. Attendees were treated to a special pop-up appearance from popular characters the ‘Nutcracker‘ Snowflakes and the Mouse King. They also enjoyed a hot chocolate bar and Nutcracker-themed cookies.

At the event, Mike Sullivan, executive vice president and president, Diversified Markets for Independence Blue Cross, and member of the Philadelphia Ballet Board of Trustees, shared why the relationship is so special: “At Independence Blue Cross, we understand the key role that the arts can play in strengthening our social and cultural connections. Through this sponsorship with the Philadelphia Ballet, Independence once again demonstrates our on-going commitment to prioritizing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the community.”

George Balanchine’s grand spectacle, The Nutcracker, has captivated generations of audiences with resplendent costumes, opulent sets, and spectacular choreography. Set to Tchaikovsky’s score, The Nutcracker follows Marie on a night of adventure as she is transported from her bedroom to The Land of Sweets, a magical wonderland where flowers waltz, snowflakes twirl, and enchanted toys transform into handsome princes. A cherished holiday tradition, this is a story beloved by all ages.

“It’s always our goal to find connection and spread joy through dance. It’s heartwarming to see so many families and friends come together over the holidays to enjoy The Nutcracker year after year,” said Shelly Power, The Dr. Carolyn Newsom Executive Director. “We’re honored to be a part of the special traditions and everlasting memories of so many.”

For more information about The Nutcracker, related events and the other productions of Philadelphia Ballet’s 2023/2024 60th anniversary season, please visit

Shelly Power, The Dr. Carolyn Newsom Executive Director and Mike Sullivan, IBX EVP and president of Diversified Markets pictured with the Mouse King.
Crystal Ashby, IBX EVP, chief people, DEI, and communications officer pictured with the Snowflakes and the Mouse King.
IBX prepared a hot chocolate bar filled with delightful toppings for associates.
IBX associates pose with hot chocolate from the hot chocolate bar.
Mike Sullivan, IBX EVP and president of Diversified Markets pictured with the Snowflakes.