Few ballets invoke the feelings of the holidays as does “The Nutcracker.”

The Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet, a fairy tale story about an enchanted Christmas Eve when toys come to life, is a staple of the season.

The Massillon Woman’s Club is bringing a twist to the traditional ballet with The Traveling Nutcracker on Friday, November 24.

Rather than performing on a stage for a seated audience, dancers will weave through the rooms of Five Oaks—the 1894 mansion the Woman’s Club calls home—with the audience right at their fingertips. As the story of the Nutcracker unfolds, dancers and the audience will move through the rooms of the mansion.

“I think it’s a really well thought out, neat thing that we’ve got going,” said Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, the owner of Candy Apples Dance Studio and the director of the production. “It’s the whole ambiance of enjoying the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky and watching this holiday season unfold and seeing how beautiful the house is decorated for Christmas time.”

Candy Apples dancers will perform the ballet—there wasn’t time to hold public auditions this year—though its not a Candy Apple’s production, Nesbitt-Stein said.

A few years ago, Nesbitt-Stein and her daughter, Vivi, participated in a Strolling Nutcracker production at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She loved the experience, and with the blessing of its directors, wanted to bring the concept to Stark County.

Nesbitt-Stein approached the Woman’s Club during the summer—her mom is a member—and they eagerly agreed to host.

“They were over the moon,” she said. “They thought it was the greatest idea, the coolest idea. Something new and fresh that they as an organization could offer.”

Five Oaks will host two performances. A 2 p.m. matinee performance is specifically designed for children, who can watch the performance alongside parents or grandparents and munch on punch and cookies. Matinee tickets are $20 for children younger than 12 and $30 for adults.

An 8 p.m. show is geared toward adults. Guests, who are encouraged to dress in formal attire, will enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $45.

To purchase, call 330-833-4896.

There’s no lack of Nutcracker performances during the holidays, but this one is a unique experience, Nesbitt-Stein said. She hopes to make it an annual tradition.

“Why not kick off the holidays and come see this?”

>>Want more Nutcracker fun? The Canton Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Canton Palace Theatre on December 8 through December 10.

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Jessica Holbrook

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