The Joffrey Ballet returns this holiday season with its brilliantly reimagined Nutcracker by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

For questions and general inquiries, email

All auditions take place at Joffrey Tower (10 East Randolph Street). Please read all the information below for details on what to bring, attire, expectations, and more. Dancers must pre-register in order to audition. There is no fee to audition, and no résumé is required.

Sunday, September 12, 2021 

11:15–11:45 AM 
Male identifying dancers ages 12–18, maximum height 5'8" (no minimum height) 

12:00–1:00 PM 
Female & Non-binary identifying dancers ages 15–18, maximum height 5'5" (no minimum height)

Note: Dancers may be asked to return for the 2:00–5:00 PM audition 

2:00–5:00 PM 
Female & Non-binary identifying dancers ages 12–14, maximum height 5'5" (no minimum height)

Note: Dancers may be released before 5:00 PM

Please also note that due to Covid-19 we require all children participating in this year’s Nutcracker Children's Cast audition and production to be fully vaccinated.

At this time, children under the age of 12 are still ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per FDA and CDC guidelines. Therefore, children under the age of 12 are not eligible to audition this year. Please continue to check our website for any updated audition information as things are subject to change.


Space is limited and pre-registration is required by Wednesday, September 8, at 12:00 PM. In person forms will not be available. Registration Form can be found here. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required. Individuals must be two weeks post their second dose. If you have questions about pre-registration, please email 

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Nutcracker Children’s Cast COVID-19 protocols can be found here. 

What to Wear

Female identifying dancers
Leotard (black recommended), flesh or pink tights and ballet shoes. All hair must be prepared in a bun prior to the audition. 

Male identifying dancers
T-shirt (black or white), tights, jazz pants or shorts, ballet shoes. 

Non-binary identifying dancers
Form fitting athletic clothing (dark bottoms, black or white top) and ballet shoes. All hair must be neatly prepared and pulled away from the face prior to the audition.

Students should arrive at Joffrey Tower dressed in their dancewear, with hair in a bun for ladies, and a small bag for their shoes, warm-ups, and water. Please be mindful of our limited space and send your student with only what is necessary for the audition. We encourage students not to bring valuables to the audition. 

What to Expect

The Children’s Cast is an important part of The Nutcracker each year. All Children’s Cast members are expected to commit to attending all scheduled rehearsals and performances. We also expect our Children’s Cast members to act respectfully and professionally when they share the studio and the stage with our professional dancers.

Before the Audition

  • Please do not arrive before the time that registration opens (one hour prior to each audition).
  • Height requirements will be verified by Joffrey Staff at the door prior to admission to the audition. The height parameters are strict and dancers who do not fall within the parameters will not be admitted into the audition. 
  • Parents will drop their dancer off in the lobby, and dancers will be escorted up the elevator by Joffrey staff and volunteers.

During the Audition

  • Children should have ballet training. During the audition, they will be asked to learn and perform Children’s Cast choreography in groups.
  • Dancers will be selected based on technical, artistic, and performance ability. 
  • Some dancers may be released from the audition early and others may be asked to stay for additional auditions. Being released from an audition or being asked to stay does not indicate casting decisions.

After the Audition

  • Casting is at the sole discretion of the Artistic Faculty and all casting decisions are final.
  • Cast members must be available for rehearsals in October, November, and December 2021. All rehearsals are coordinated by Joffrey Ballet Rehearsal Directors and will be held generally on Sundays and occasional weekdays. Production Week may require daytime rehearsals during the week.
  • All casting decisions will be sent to the email address provided in the registration form by September 17, 2021.

Important Dates

Friday, September 24, 2021
Mandatory Parent Orientation Meeting
Location: Meeting will be held via Zoom

Friday, November 12, 2021
Mandatory Parent & Child (if available) Production Meeting
Location: Meeting will be held via Zoom

Tech Rehearsals and Performances

Tech Rehearsals
Thursday, December 2, 2021, at Lyric Opera House of Chicago — Schedule TBD
Friday, December 3, 2021, at Lyric Opera House of Chicago — Schedule TBD

Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 1 PM & 6 PM
Thursday, December 9, 2021, at 11 AM & 7 PM
Friday, December 10, 2021, at 11 AM & 7 PM
Saturday, December 11, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 1 PM & 6 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 7 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Friday, December 17, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Sunday, December 19, 2021, at 1 PM & 6 PM
Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Thursday, December 23, 2021, at 2 PM & 7 PM
Friday, December 24, 2021, at 7 PM
Sunday, December 26, 2021, at 1 PM & 6 PM

*Note: Performances will alternate between two casts. Cast members should be available for each performance even if they are not being called. 

Additional Information

Please be aware, as this is a professional production, attendance at all practices/rehearsals is extremely important. Cast members are allowed one excused absence before Sunday, November 14, 2021, which includes sports, sickness, or family vacations. If a cast member is not able to participate because of the attendance policy, the Artistic staff will have to assign roles to someone else.