Passport to Houston: The Nutcracker


From capturing the happiness of Christmas gifts and decorations, to the glittering snow and glamorous magic, Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker, has truly encapsulated pure Christmas joy. The famous tale takes on a new interpretation with the Houston Ballet, a performance I was so lucky to be able to attend.

Through the Rice Program Council’s Passport to Houston committee, I won subsidized tickets to a Rice Night at the Houston Ballet: The Nutcracker. The committee is designed to engage the Rice community with the city of Houston, so that Rice students can become more involved in and immersed in the city’s culture.

The process for getting these tickets was quick and easy. The RPC rep for my residential college sent out an email with a Google Form for those interested to enter a raffle. I entered and was randomly selected. We paid a subsidized fee, so what was once over $60 became a great deal for college students.

Selfie taken in 0.5 camera mode of two girls smiling at the camera.
A faraway shot of the stage with dancers in costumes performing.

I invited one of my close friends, Christina, with me. We took advantage of the opportunity to dress up and get outside of “the Rice Bubble”. On the day of, we stopped for a quick dinner at Chipotle, then walked less than a minute to the metro stop. Rice University provides undergraduate students with a free Student METRO QCard, so we rode for free. We then got off and only walked for a couple minutes before arriving at the Wortham Center.

The ballet started promptly at 6:30PM, and time flew by so fast. Each set was so whimsical and glamorous. Clara is the vision of grace as she wanders throughout the Pine Forest and the Land of Sweets. I lost count of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s turns, each aligned with the beat of the orchestra. Her Cavalier was her perfect complement, leaping across the stage with incredible lightness and poise. I laughed at the little children—some as young as seven—brought characters like the bees and rat soldiers to life. All the amazing performers made the choreography look effortless and were meticulously in sync with each other. Their movements and expressions were visible even from the balcony. 

For a wonderful three hours, I was able to escape the stress of finals season and enter Clara’s mind. It was the perfect event to put me in the Christmas mood.

- Katherine J., Hanszen '25


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