It’s the time of year to make plans to attend Dance Maker Academy’s annual production of the Nutcracker Ballet at the Constantine Theater in downtown Pawhuska. It is, after all, becoming a Pawhuska tradition.


There is, however, a pre-Nutcracker event that you may want to enjoy. It’s called the Nutcracker Tea Party and it serves at least three functions. It offers the community a high-quality family cultural event, it gives people interested in the Nutcracker Ballet a chance to become better acquainted with it before the actual show, and it helps Dance Maker Academy raise a little money to support the ballet production.


That said, the Nutcracker Tea Party will be this Sunday, from 2-4 p.m., at the Pawhuska Community Center, located at 520 Lynn Avenue (at the junction of Lynn Avenue and Main Street). There will be a professional magician, a puppet show, a craft activity for children, and Dance Maker will have cast members for the Nutcracker Ballet on-hand in their costumes.


Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Visit DanceMaker.net, or call 918-704-4668 for tickets. Children must be accompanied by adults. Remember — it’s this Sunday.


Once you’ve been to the Nutcracker Tea Party, you’ll want to book your tickets for the ballet, itself. The Nutcracker Ballet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Constantine Theater on Main Street in Pawhuska.


Randy Tinker Smith, director of Dance Maker Academy, said there will likely be about 45 children and youth in the ballet this year, the youngest of which will be six years old. Smith noted this will be the third year for the Nutcracker in Pawhuska and she said youngsters enrolled at Dance Maker Academy have been making a lot of progress.


“I think the town is going to be surprised and really thrilled by how much they’ve grown,” Randy Tinker Smith said. Dance Maker Academy has been open now for some five and a half years and its influence is growing. This fall, Pawhuska Public Schools began a collaboration with Dance Maker to offer dance as an elective to children in the schools. The school system transports the students to the dance academy.


“This is huge,” Randy Tinker Smith said, pointing out it’s the only collaboration of its kind in Oklahoma right now. Just nine kids are currently taking the class, but efforts will be underway shortly to increase that number in the near future.


With regard to the Nutcracker Ballet, Director of Dance Jenna Smith offered an invitation to residents to make their plans now to enjoy the performances of the student dancers along with the music that makes the Nutcracker special.


“We invite families and friends to make lifelong memories by attending this timeless ballet—showcasing our student dancers performing to Tchaikovsky’s beloved music,” Jenna Smith said. “With a story that sparks the imagination of audiences young and old, The Nutcracker will whisk you away to distant lands with its whimsical battles, hypnotizing snow flurries and celebratory sets and costumes.


“The community is invited to attend this ballet favorite, made famous by the late Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, who danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy under the direction of George Balanchine with the New York City Ballet,” she added.


“We thank our sponsors, Osage Casinos, Osage Foundation, Jerry and Marlene Mosley, Dr. and Mrs. Cameron Rumsey, Steve and Ann Teget, Blue Sky Bank, , and Jesse Worten III, for helping us to continue the legacy of ballet in the Osage, and look forward to others joining our efforts,” Jenna Smith said.


Tickets are on sale at the Osage Nation Visitors Center on the southwest corner of Main Street and Lynn Avenue, at Salt Creek Marketplace on Kihekah Avenue in Pawhuska, or online at www.dancemaker.net. Adult tickets are $15 and student tickets are $8.


Dance Maker is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be sent to 400 Palmer Avenue Pawhuska, OK 74056.