San Jose Dance Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” begins tomorrow and we have an exclusive interview with Ms. Linda Hurkmans, their artistic director!

PROGRAM.Santana.Cecile.Battle.Clara.Nut.Mouse.DSC00152Photo Credits: Cecile Carlos-Janicek, Jeffrey Hosier & Melinda Barsuglia

Bay Area tradition since 1966, the San José Dance Theatre is proud to present its 52ndproduction of The Nutcracker, now performing for two weekends! Be a part of this magical tradition in downtown San Jose with a live orchestra by the Cambrian Symphony.

Featured Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier are professional dancers Julia Rowe and Jaime Garcia Castilla from the San Francisco Ballet and Chisako Oga and James Cunningham from the Cincinnati Ballet.

For over 52 years, open auditions have been held for San Francisco Bay Area students to take part in this iconic production. San Jose Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker production is unique in that it provides young dancers the opportunity to perform with live orchestra in a theater that hosts professional touring companies and is led by artistic director, Linda Hurkmans.

00_MsLinda_6BW.V2Artistic Director of San Jose Dance Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”, Linda Hurkmans

Ms. Linda Hurkmans was kind enough to give us an exclusive interview:

EA: Dear Linda, how would you describe the audition process for San Jose Dance Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”?

LH: Nutcracker auditions are a very exciting time for San Jose Dance Theatre. We have a long standing tradition of open auditions to all dancers in the area, regardless of where they dance. Auditions take place at our studios the second weekend in September.

1756 Junction Ave. Suite E. San Jose CA.

Dancers audition in groups organized by their age and experience level. We have parts for all levels, beginning through advanced, and ages 6 and up, all the way to adult dancers.  We also welcome actors to our production and singers during our chorus in the Snow Scene.


EA: What are the main characteristics that you look for in the students that are auditioning?

LH: We always appreciate dancers who have strong technique, but equally who are expressive in their dance. When an audience watches our Nutcracker, they aren’t just watching beautiful ballet but also experiencing a story that is told with great emotion conveyed through expression. We are looking for children and adults who love to dance! We have parts for all levels, beginning through advanced and if they audition, we will do everything we can to ensure they receive a part in our production!

EA: On my site, Latino Edge, I frequently feature audition opportunities for dance and theater. What is some advice that you would give to young performers as they are preparing for their auditions?

LH: My general advice to young performers auditioning is to do some research on the production in which they will audition. What roles is the production looking to fill? Which age groups and which skill levels do they need?  Then I would say, “do your best and let your special qualities shine!  Always show you are committed, humble, and passionate about learning and becoming the best performer you can be.” Choreographers and artistic directors, such as myself, are looking for those qualities!

At San Jose Dance Theatre, we welcome dancers of all levels from all over the community.  One does not have to train in San Jose Dance Theatres’ academy in order to audition and perform with us.  I also want performers to know that I provide a very family friendly and non- intimidating atmosphere. I performed with San Jose Dance Theatre as a child and went on to become a professional ballet dancer in the U.S. and in Europe.  I also completed a graduate degree in Psychology and have worked both as a therapist, Director of Rehabilitation Services at the San Jose Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center, and as a Psychology Instructor at De Anza College for 16 years.  I combine both my skills in the professional ballet world and in Psychology to provide a healthy and encouraging atmosphere in San Jose Dance Theatre’s school and performing company.

FLYER.SJDT 2017.SnowScene.Cast2_Thursday_0568 copy

I have high expectations for my production of The Nutcracker but am very encouraging and helpful in preparing the performers to get there!  I am always so proud of all of our performers!

EA: And in regards to this year’s “The Nutcracker”, what are you most excited about?

LH: I am excited that this is San Jose Dance Theatre’s 52nd production of The Nutcracker. We are the Resident Ballet Company of the 2600 seat Center for Performing Arts in downtown San Jose.  This year, we were voted “Best Dance Company in Silicon Valley” by the Metro.  I am thrilled to partner for the 5th year with the Cambrian Symphony led by the masterful Maestro, Scott Krijnen.


We always bring the very best professional dancers to perform Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.  This year, on Dec. 1-3, we welcome San Francisco Ballet Soloist, Julia Rowe, and Principal Dancer, Jaime Garcia Castilla.  On Dec. 8-10, we welcome in those roles, Cincinnati Ballet Principal Dancer, Chisako Oga and Soloist, James Cunningham.  These are extremely high quality and accomplished professional ballet dancers we are excited to share them with our San Jose audiences. 

As I mentioned, San Jose Dance Theatre is a very friendly atmosphere and has a long legacy. We often have cast members grow and come back to put their own children in our production! On a personal note, this year, I am excited to have my own 11 year old daughter, Natalie Ramskov, dancing in the lead role of “Clara” for some of the performances. It is fulfilling for me to pass on the legacy to all of our dancers.

For more information on San Jose Dance Theatre’s academy which provides training ages 4 through adult in ballet, pointe, pas de deux, Pilates, Contemporary dance, and Chinese Tumbling, please visit our website at

call 408.286.9905 or email the Artistic Director,

We have Open Enrollment and welcome you to join us!

For more information on Nutcracker Tickets, please visit

or call 408.286.9905.

Performances are:

Fri. Dec. 1; 7:30pm

Sat. Dec. 2; 2pm and 7:30pm

Sun. Dec. 3; 2pm

Fri. Dec. 8; 7:30pm

Sat. Dec. 9; 2pm and 7:30pm

Sun. Dec. 10; 2pm

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