With an expanding organization in place and a growing reputation for excellence, in 1974 the company reached another major turning point in its history, with the decision by Miss Madeline (Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo) to launch a production of The Nutcracker.
This beloved ballet would become not only an annual production for the company, but a deeply ingrained cultural and family tradition, first throughout the Berkshires and then throughout the other communities it grew to serve.
In 2019, it ranks as one of the longest continuing productions of this classic holiday staple.
“’THE NUTCRACKER IS THE MOST AMBITIOUS PROGRAM THE BERKSHIRE BALLET HAS UNDERTAKEN SINCE IT WAS FORMED,” WROTE RICHARD HAPPEL OF THE PRODUCTION, WHICH OPENED WITH TWO SOLD-OUT PERFORMANCES IN THE 750 SEAT AUDITORIUM OF TACONIC HIGH SCHOOL IN PITTSFIELD.
The first Nutcracker also showcased the company’s early associations with Boston Ballet, whose E.Virginia Williams contributed choreography for the grand pas de deux. Also courtesy of Boston Ballet were principal dancers Robert Steele, Durine Alinova and Janine Duffin, the latter both Berkshire Ballet alumnae.