Sarasota Ballet performs “John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker”  Dec. 20 and 21 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  A magical rendition of the classic, “The Nutcracker,” with a Sarasota spin that follows the story of circus magnate John Ringling.

Sarasota County claims a cultural life parallel to any major community. Rich in history, the area has 90-some sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including its vibrant downtown, bustling with shops and restaurants — all within a stone’s throw of the waterfront.

As for the arts, the city of Sarasota is home to Florida’s oldest continuing orchestra (Sarasota Orchestra), the oldest theater company (Asolo Repertory Theatre), and the Gulf Coast of Florida’s first professional ballet company (Sarasota Ballet) and opera company (Sarasota Opera). Plus, Sarasota boasts dozens of theater companies, including the revered Florida Studio Theatre, as well as festivals for film and chamber music.

Take a behind-the-scene look at last year’s world premiere of  “John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker.”