The Nutcracker

Just a few short years after founding the dance company, Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz and Mary Lynn Taylor directed 35 performers in their first production of The Nutcracker. In its first year, the company staged four shows over a single weekend. Today we are the largest and oldest Nutcracker production in North Fulton, with a cast of over 350. The company stages ten shows over two full weekends, and offers a special performance for school children and seniors.

This year, Roswell Dance Theatre returns to the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center to present The Nutcracker. The cast includes world-class professionals, Company students from the Roswell Dance Theatre, and dance students of all ages from Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance.


Open School dancers ages 5 and up who are enrolled in at least one ballet class at our studio are invited to audition for the Nutcracker in early September. Pre-registration is available online and there is a fee for each student. Available roles vary from year to year, and casting is very selective. Dancers are cast based on ability and costuming and are required to pay a costume fee and attend rehearsals September through November. Most roles are double-cast, so each performer will be paired with an alternate and dance in one half of the full schedule.

Ballet Company dancers are assigned 2 or more roles in the production based on their company level. The dancers begin learning their choreography during August boot camp. Costume fittings and auditions for select solo roles begin at this time as well. Company students do not pay a production or costume fee for this event.


Group rehearsals for company, open school and guest dancers are held on weekends through the fall. The directors and teachers evaluate rehearsals regularly and adjust the rehearsal schedule as needed.

Full cast rehearsals are held on four consecutive Saturdays beginning in late October. Hand props and smaller set pieces are brought in so that all participants can fully practice their parts. Dancers in solo roles often wear costumes and/or headpieces in the final full-cast in-studio rehearsals to check fit and function.

Tech and dress rehearsals are held at the theater at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, once all the costumes, set pieces, and props are loaded in and put into place.


Performances begin on Friday after Thanksgiving and continue through two full weekends. Since most parts are double-cast, many dancers will only perform in six of the twelve shows. The Performance schedule is as follows:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Dress Rehearsals
(all day)
Thanksgiving Matinee
Early Matinee
Late Matinee


Evening Morning

**Due to the production and rehearsal schedule, families should not plan to travel for Thanksgiving.**