It's more than just the few songs we're most familiar with, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies and the Nutcracker Waltz. It's a fantastic tale of a little girl who magically travels to another world, The Land of Sweets on Christmas Eve. If you're not intimately familiar with these tunes, trust me that sometime between now and New Years Eve you'll hear them playing lowly in the stores, in the background at parties you may attend and even some have been reconstructed for radio airplay. The Nutcracker is part of your life.

When the story, actually a fairy tale called 'The Nutcracker and the King of Mice' was written in 1816, sweets were something of a luxury. Even the simplest penny priced rock candy was a rare treat for kids. Not like today, so in 1816 a child entering the world of nothing but sweets was a fantastic idea.

The story languished until people starting taking serious note of Peter Tchaikovsky's soundtrack particularly the Nutcracker Suite, and the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. Often at Christmas band concerts all or portions of these will be performed even in the absence of a dance company, the music is so strong.

The production wasn't a success originally. Even ballet aficionados of generations past didn't find it too entertaining, it's a slow moving two act ballet that's slow even for ballet. But since the 1960s the play has gained more and more traction especially during the holiday season.

Now the Lake Area Ballet Theatre (LABT) will perform the play at the Rosa Hart Theater for the fifth year, twice on November 23rd at 2 pm and 7 pm.

The Lake Charles Ballet Society was one of the first ballet companies to perform the iconic Balanchine staging in the nation. LABT continues to hold the rights to this staging today. The Christmastime production follows the young girl Clara as she journeys through a fantastical world of sweets with her heroic prince, the Nutcracker.

For tickets, which start at $25 and more information to attend click here.