Dec. 14, 2021

Austin Ballet's The Nutcracker

AUSTIN, Texas — This holiday season, St. Edward’s University President Montserrat ‘Montse’ Fuentes is transforming into the beloved Mother Ginger character for the 59th Annual Production of Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 

Ballet Austin, which will fill the Long Center with holiday magic once again with 14 performances from Dec. 4-23, has invited President Fuentes to cameo as Mother Ginger in the Saturday, Dec. 18 evening performance. The president is among the notable people chosen this year to play Mother Ginger. 

“Having the privilege of participating in Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker” represents an opportunity to bring St. Edward’s to the Austin community,” Fuentes said. “My daughter has danced in Nutcracker productions every year since she was six, so the Nutcracker has become an important part of our family’s Christmas tradition.”

“I could not be more excited to make Ballet Austin’s Nutcracker our family’s new Christmas tradition in Austin, celebrating this special time of the year with my St. Edward’s family and also with my new Ballet Austin family, not just as Mother Ginger but as a new member of the Ballet Austin Board of Directors,” Fuentes added.

Ballet Austin brings the community on stage through the role of Mother Ginger. This fun fan favorite role that appears in the second act allows art and community to converge on stage. Every year Ballet Austin invites a new group of local heroes, leaders, artists, and celebrities for a guest appearance.

“This is the moment in the production when the community crosses the footlights and joins our professional dancers on stage. Honoring these Mother Gingers each year allows the spotlight to shine on wonderful folks and their extraordinary stories. “The Nutcracker” belongs to all of us, with some families now attending with their fourth or fifth generation. This year’s cast of Mother Gingers is as incredible and representative of Austin as ever,” said Executive Director Cookie Ruiz.

Ballet Austin offers the longest-running production of “The Nutcracker” in the state of Texas.

Stephen Mills’ original choreography joins the professional Company Dancers together with Ballet Austin Academy student cast members and live musical accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra to bring the story of a young girl’s dreamy journey through the court of sweets to life. 


St. Edward’s University is a private, liberal arts university in the Catholic, Holy Cross tradition with approximately 3,600 students. Located in Austin, Texas, it is one of the top universities in Texas and offers more than 50 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs. With a network of partner universities around the world, St. Edward’s delivers a premier, highly personalized education that helps students explore their own transformational pathways to knowledge, experience, understanding and success. St. Edward’s has been recognized for 19 consecutive years as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. In the U.S. News 2022 rankings, St. Edward’s remains in the list of top 10 Best Regional Universities in the West for the 3rd consecutive year.  


As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the creation of original artworks, classical ballet instruction, and life-long health and wellness through dance and fitness. With a rich history spanning six decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs, and a large, classical ballet academy, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin’s Sarah & Ernest Butler Family Fund artistic director, actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.” For additional information on Ballet Austin and to purchase tickets and classes, visit