Adaptive version of Nutcracker takes place December 12 in Milford

The New England Ballet Company will present its fifth annual Adaptive Nutcracker on Friday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Parsons Complex Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 70 West River Street.

This performance is a collaborative effort between the New England Ballet Company and Milford Recreation Department’s Adaptive Arts Program, the Merry Musical Theater. Under the guidance of Company Executive Director Kenneth Hopkins and Adaptive Program Specialist Deborah Marchese, it was created to introduce special needs performers to the transformative power of ballet.

The extended Nutcracker Suite is a culmination of months of rehearsals with mentor dancers from the company working with Merry Musical Theater students; teaching them ballet and helping them learn the story and choreography of Tchaikovsky’s ballet.

“The opportunity for our staff and dancers to perform with the adaptive students provided us with valuable life lessons that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.” Hopkins said. “This performance is always a truly rewarding experience.”

During the show, company dancers take supporting roles as dancers with special needs performers in the lead roles of Clara and The Sugar Plum Fairy. This year the cast will feature dancers with autism, Down syndrome and other emotional and physical disabilities.

“For families looking to catch the holiday spirit, this collaborative effort has once again produced a must see performance of the Nutcracker,” said Director of Recreation Paul Piscitelli.

In 2012 New England Ballet Company was a recipient of a New Haven Arts Council Award for its work with the Milford Recreation Department on The Adaptive Nutcracker.

Tickets are on sale now and are available through the company’s website,