(WTNH)–“The Nutcracker” is a time-honored holiday tradition. The New Haven Ballet‘s performance features more than 200 dancers.

12-year-old Lea started ballet when she was just four years old. She’s practically a veteran of the show now, with a range of roles.

“I was a reindeer, a cherub, an angel a cake decoration, a party girl twice, then Clara, and now I’m a snow and fairy,” she said.

This is her first time to perform with the New Haven Ballet in toe shoes, dancing on pointe.

It’s an honor achieved when dancers turn 12.

“Pointe shoes are wood at the very bottom, so you have to wear toe pads. They kind of hurt but not too much, it’s completely different from flat so it’s kind of relearning everything on pointe.”

The family classic is set to music by Tchaikovsky, transporting the audience to a magical dream world of dancing dolls, the ‘Land of Snow,’ and ‘Fantasy Land of Sweets.’

To get the performance ready, it takes more than two months of practice four days a week.

“It’s a family atmosphere. We’re so close we spend so much time together. it goes along with the holiday and spending time together.

16-year-old Catalina Betancur says it doesn’t feel like Christmas until she hits the stage. That’s when the holiday magic truly sets in.

“I can’t wait to go out there and perform,” she said. “The adrenaline, and it’s so fun to perform with your friends and with everyone out there.”

These young dancers hope you’ll join them at the Shubert Theater in New Haven. Mark your calendars for a weekend of wonder on December 16th and 17th.