“The Nutcracker,” the enchanting holiday ballet and tradition, was brought to Binghamton by the Rafael Grigorian Ballet School & Performing Company this past weekend.

Shows took place at Clemens Center in Elmira, New York on Dec. 2, followed by a performance at The Broome County Forum Theatre on Dec. 3. The ballet is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” and features Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker Suite.”

The ballet followed a young girl named Masha who is gifted a Nutcracker doll for Christmas. When Masha falls asleep near the doll, she dreams of being chased by rats and mice led by the evil Mouse King. However, she is saved by a Nutcracker and an army of toy soldiers. The Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince, and Masha a beautiful princess.

Masha and the Prince are led into a world of imagination, and when they reach the kingdom with fairytales and flowers, they are met with many characters who dance for them. Finally, the Prince and Princess dance a pas de deux, and Masha wakes up from her dream remembering the journey she and the Nutcracker shared on Christmas Eve.

Directed by Master Rafael Grigorian, artistic director and founder of the Rafael Grigorian Ballet Theatre in Horseheads, N.Y., the company put on a festive and heartwarming show that featured dancers with abilities ranging from professional guest artists to beginners of various ages. With an extensive background in ballet and choreography, Grigorian discussed the process of putting on this year’s “The Nutcracker.”

“Every year I change [the show], because it’s young people, and I would like to present them in the best way possible,” Grigorian said.

Grigorian went on to talk about his students who have gone on to become professionals, including Melissa Meng, 29, of Vestal, a guest artist in “The Nutcracker,” who played the principal part. She began training with Grigorian at the age of 14.

“She is now a professional ballerina, and she’s my student,” Grigorian said. “Luckily she came and danced with us, because I always said I would like to give the opportunity to my students to come and dance.”

Meng, playing the role of Princess Masha, which is also known as Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy, gave a spectacular performance with her former ballet school. Meng has been dancing and performing in the Nutcracker since she was a kid, and currently dances with Avant Chamber Ballet. Meng discussed her thoughts and the challenges that come with “The Nutcracker” season.

“It’s a lot of long rehearsal days and a lot of performances in total,” Meng said. “The most I ever did one year was about 30 ‘Nutcrackers’ … just keeping that energy level up and remembering that each time you do it, that it’s someone’s first time in the audience, and to keep bringing that magic every time.”

For Sydney Williams, 50, of Horseheads and mother of one of the dancers on pointe, it was her first time watching a Rafael Grigorian production. Williams commented on her favorite aspect of the show.

“I think [my favorite part was] just how it all came together,” Williams said. “A lot of them didn’t practice together until Thursday night, so it was pretty impressive to see how it all came together — the beautiful dances and the different scenes.”

With a full house watching, the dancers gave an impressive performance of “The Nutcracker,” successfully carrying on the beloved holiday tradition.

Grigorian expressed his sentiments about the art of ballet for his students.

“Most [importantly] is that they will be enjoying dance,” Grigorian said. “I always tell them, no matter if you have physical ability or not, [experience] the joy of dancing, [love] dancing … someone will always look back to a young age and say ‘my gosh, I was dancing on the stage.’”