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27th annual Nutcracker ballet benefiting children's hospitals

Dance Arts Theatre presents The Nutcracker, Dec 8 and 9 at Wright Auditorium on East Carolina University's main campus. (Tyler Hardin)

The 27th annual Nutcracker ballet opens Saturday at the East Carolina University Wright Auditorium. This year's performances are benefiting children's hospitals. Below is a press release with more information:

Dance Arts Theatre presents The Nutcracker, Dec 8 and 9 at Wright Auditorium on East Carolina University's main campus. Net proceeds from each performance will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a fundraising program of the Vidant Medical Center Foundation.

Throughout the years, this annual event has contributed more than $192,000 to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This year, the cast made up of 125 kids will continue that tradition. The ballet is made possible each year by generous tax-deductible contributions from major corporations, small businesses and individuals in the community.

Having the opportunity to come together for such a beneficial cause is the reason Sherryl Tipton, Artistic Director of the North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts and Dance Arts Theatre, continues to do this year after year. "There is something magical that happens in our community during Nutcracker season," says Tipton. "It is more than a ballet. It is about giving back and helping those who are unable to help themselves. It is about kids helping kids and it is an unforgettable experience for all ages."

Accompanied live by the Eastern Symphony Orchestra; the cast of Academy students will be joined by principal dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Carolina Ballet.

Come experience the magic of the season Dance Arts Theatre celebrate their 27th season of this family holiday favorite. Three performances will offer children and their families an opportunity to travel in time on an enchanting journey where Christmas trees grow and toy soldiers come to life.

Tickets and contributor information is available online or by calling 1-800-ECU-Arts.

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