It’s time to crack the case…of the annual appeal of “The Nutcracker.”

Winter after winter, this enduring ballet continues to entertain audiences. Across the globe, performances of the phenomenon are currently underway, putting crowds in the holiday spirit.

“The Nutcracker” is over a century old; the two-act ballet debuted in St. Petersburg circa 1892. Since then, the production has toured all over the world, igniting festive fun through a love of dance.

The renowned New York City Ballet recently released its dates for this new season. Lesser known Champaign Urbana Ballet and Stroia Ballet Company have also been trending online for their performances.

So why does the tradition continue year after year? The answer is partially due to profits. Forty percent of revenue for the New York City’s Ballet derives from this iconic performance, with other companies likely facing similar numbers.

Since “The Nutcracker” is the most famous ballet, professional and aspiring ballerinas consider their performances in the production a right of passage. Megan Fairchild is one of these women.

Fairchild has been a principle dancer of the New York City Ballet since 2005. In its  annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” she played the lead of the Sugar Plum Fairy, reports People. She expressed her love for the traditional performance and  explains how holiday spirit keeps the ballet alive.

“It’s a special little recipe for getting people interested in the ballet,” Fairchild tells People. “It’s a Christmas tradition that, even if you aren’t into the ballet, it’s still a holiday pastime you enjoy. The kids go with their families and see other kids on stage, and that makes them want to dance. It’s a huge cycle of continued interest. I think if it wasn’t for The Nutcracker, ballet would be a dying art form.”

Want to experience the holiday pastime this season? Watch Fairchild and the rest of the New York City Ballet company in the clip above or check out a performance near you – there’s bound to be one.

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