Lafayette Ballet Theatre: Celebrates Two Decades+ of The Nutcracker

November 30, 2023

Behind every magical Nutcracker performance is the humble and graceful dance conservatory, Lafayette Ballet Theatre (LBT). Co-founded by sisters Mitzi and Shannon Heath over forty years ago, Lafayette Ballet Theatre is Acadiana's only professional classical ballet company. Today, LBT offers a long-term student scholarship program and provides 28-week contracted positions to local artists.

For 23 years, Lafayette Ballet Theatre has presented The Nutcracker – Acadiana's most beloved holiday tradition – with the support of family, volunteers, and the community. The majority of ticket sales go toward supporting the local arts community. Additionally, LBT provides an extensive complimentary Nutcracker ticket program to underprivileged children and adults through "A Night at the Ballet."

LBT and The Nutcracker: A Family Legacy

This year marks the 23rd performance of LBT's The Nutcracker. Generations of LBT dancers have worked tirelessly to present this full-length classical ballet – and many former students now serve as volunteers at LBT. In addition, many new students are the children of former Nutcracker performers – making this holiday tradition a true family legacy.


"Dancing and performing have been part of my life from a young age. I'm blessed to have this opportunity as an adult to perform each year with so many talented people," said Sarah Barbato, LBT Alum and Nutcracker cast member. "The role of Mother Stahlbahm is fun because she helps bring the story of Clara and her Nutcracker to life. I look forward to reuniting with my Nutcracker friends each year through rehearsals and performances to share this holiday tradition with Acadiana."


Young dancers from across Acadiana come together here to learn and perform The Nutcracker and have the privilege of working alongside esteemed professional ballerinas from Pacific Northwest Ballet. With rehearsals taking place every weekend for 12 weeks, and regular ballet class training seven days, the highest level of dedication is required year after year.

23 Years of Holiday Magic, Over 40 years of Impact

Thousands of dancers have participated in The Nutcracker and benefitted from the disciplined instruction of Lafayette Ballet Theatre. Dancers past and present have great appreciation for their Nutcracker experience and take their roles very seriously.


“It’s an honor and privilege to work with our community’s talented artists and youth. The Nutcracker is an opportunity for students to learn vital life lessons about perseverance and commitment.” says Shannon Heath, “It teaches focus, teamwork, and patience. These young performers are our community’s future leaders. LBT plays a small but significant role in helping students set goals, develop work ethics, and achieve confidence.”


The entire LBT team and many past Nutcracker dancers have sacrificed countless personal hours to help ensure professional ballet is accessible to the Acadiana community. Thanks to the selfless efforts of the LBT family, the community has been given the gift of experiencing the beauty of classical ballet right here at home for the last 40 years.



Founded in 1982, Lafayette Ballet Theatre is a non-profit performing arts organization committed to educating and developing local artists by offering the highest standards of classical dance training and performances. The organization presents multiple full-length classical story ballets annually and conducts multiple educational outreach programs. All adult LBT artists are paid and work under professional employment contracts.

Macaroni Kid can make it super easy for you to find your family fun all year long. Receive a local calendar of family-friendly events each Thursday evening when you SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE

You'll be glad you did ... and so will your kids!

For even more fun, find us on FacebookTwitterand Instagram