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ALACHUA ‒ The Gainesville based professional ballet company Dance Alive National Ballet (DANB) has been performing the Nutcracker for 55 years with over 200 touring performances and 30 school programs in the Continental United States. Over the past four years it has also become a traditional show in Alachua as well.

The Nutcracker is an important part of the company’s history, and even in 2020 when many entertainment performances were canceled, the Nutcracker performance went on in the new Legacy Park Outdoor Amphitheater where social distancing could be observed.

This year, there was a change of venues due to concerns about possible rain and the performance was moved indoors to the Legacy Park Multipurpose center. Neither the threat of bad weather nor the change of venue deterred an enthusiastic audience. All interior bleachers were filled with additional viewers either bringing lawn chairs or standing on either side of the bleachers watching more than 30 dancers perform in the almost two-hour show.

Dance Alive is a dance academy and professional dance troupe that has always been the heart and soul of the Pofahl family. In 1966 Mary Ellen Pofahl, a professional dancer and teacher, founded the DANB company and it has continued through the talents and efforts of her daughters, Judy Skinner and Kim Tuttle serves as Artistic Director and Skinner is Choreographer-In-Residence.

Pofahl Studios is the official school of DANB, and the faculty have been selected for their professional knowledge of a particular dance discipline as well as the ability to teach a particular age or ability level. The instructors also take part in performances by the DANB. Many of the school's students have gone on to professional dance careers throughout the world.

Both Skinner and Tuttle actively teach at the school as well as run the DANB. The Nutcracker performance is one of their best known and attended shows. During December, the company will perform the Nutcracker at a variety of venues, combining music and dance with one of the best-known Christmas stories, while keeping alive a half century tradition.

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