Momentum Dance Ensemble in Burien

Natalie Moeller - Staff Reporter

You don't have to fight Seattle traffic this year to get your seasonal fix of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Nutcracker for many has become an essential element of the winter holiday experience, and there is a rendition that is both affordable and nearby.

This festive ballet is performed in the heart of Burien at Highline Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $20 for adults (18-59), and $16 for students and seniors.

"Seeing The Nutcracker performed by a small studio not only is a cheaper option, but it also helps kids in your community have access to dance classes regardless to their financial situation," said Mia Cullen, Highline student and principal dancer at Momentum, a local dance studio.

In The Nutcracker, the main character, Clara, receives a magical nutcracker as a Christmas gift. The nutcracker then protects Clara from the Rat King/Queen and takes her on a journey to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets.

Momentum Dance Ensemble is a non-profit organization.

The studio puts on an annual full-length version of The Nutcracker, performed by local students.

"At Momentum, The Nutcracker is more than just a show, it's a tradition. Because we perform it every year, every time we test ourselves to make this year better than the last," Cullen said.

The ballet is around one and a half hours long, and includes two acts.

Act One involves the party and snow scene.

Act Two presents the land of sweets, with dances that capture the essence of Arabian tea, marzipan, Sugar Plum, Chinese coffee and many more.

"Everyone should see the Nutcracker because it is such an amazing show. Also, if someone has never seen a ballet this is a great first choice," said Alelia Matson, a student at Highline and principal dancer at Momentum.

The cast consists of students ages 16 to 18. They were chosen following auditions to perform roles by teachers and the artistic director.

The young artists began rehearsing six-plus hours each week, starting in September.

"It involves an immense amount of practice. You attend technique class so you're dancing beautifully and you attend the rehearsal to learn and practice choreography. A lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears," Matson said.

The ballet has a matinee and evening show on Saturday, Dec. 3. The matinee show starts at 2 p.m., and the evening show starts at 7 p.m.

The Highline Performing Arts Center is at 401 S. 152nd St. in Burien.

For more information or to buy tickets visit,

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