It's a favorite Christmas tradition around the world. And here in Lafayette, many look forward to The Nutcracker ballet every year.
This weekend, professional ballerinas along with students from across Acadiana will grace the stage at the Heymann Center for the annual performance.
And while the eyes of audiences may be on their favorite role this weekend, performers say it's teamwork that makes the magic of the nutcracker possible.
Landing the Arabian lead in the Nutcracker has been a dream for Ciera Johnson since the first time she saw the ballet.
"I was about six years old and the Arabian caught my eye because she was so flexible," Johnson says. "So that's a role I've always been interested in. And then whenever I found out I got it, I was super excited."
Getting to this point took so much hard work and dedication, not only from Ciera but from her peers as well.
Looking to her fellow dancers, Johnson says she has received much help from those who have performed the Arabian lead before her.
Together, dancers say they work to make Lafayette Ballet Theatre an open and welcoming environment for all those who enter.
And during Christmas, that inclusivity draws dancers from studios across Acadiana and professionals from all over the country to make the magic of the Nutcracker come to life.
"We really do have so much talent in our community. It's really impressive. Especially for people who come in for the Nutcracker. I'm always so impressed by their abilities."
"Having something like the Nutcracker where everyone can come together despite where you're dancing, and have this platform for everyone to showcase their talent really says something for Lafayette as a community as well."
Performances will be Saturday, December 14 at 7:00 pm and Sunday the 15 at 2:00 pm.