“Our ultimate goal is of course to try that everyone – both the students on stage and the audience in the theater – can see not just our ‘Nutcracker’ production, but everything we do this year”, said Jeffrey J. Bentley, the executive director of the ballet.

In Kansas City, “Nutcracker” is a tradition that goes back more than three decades, although it was canceled last year along with productions across the country. Parents with young children said they were disappointed not to be able to attend again this year.

Adam Travis, an accountant in Kansas City, was hoping to take his two daughters, 9 and 4 years old, who are taking ballet lessons, to the show. The production has a family tradition: You dress up, go out to dinner and sit in the same seats every year.

“It was a disappointment,” said Travis. “We’re just beginning to get back to normal.”

In New York and other major cities where auditioning for the Nutcracker is highly competitive, kids under 12 are likely to be disappointed to miss another opportunity to appear on the show. Many spend years waiting for a chance to perform in it, and it is a rite of passage for aspiring dancers. Instead, the focus this year is on young dancers, who are often overshadowed by their younger, more squirrel-like colleagues in production.

“There are parents who have an 8 year old, a 9 year old, a 10 year old who know this is the window for their child to be in The Nutcracker,” said Stafford of the City Ballet . “It’s going to be tough and they have to work it through with their children, who will also be disappointed that they won’t get a chance this year.”

Despite the added vigilance, many dancers said they were excited to get back on stage.