Dog with short spine dances into hearts with 'Mutt-Cracker' ballet role

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Dec. 14, 2016 at 1:56 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- An Alabama ballet company's star dancer overcame a short spine and two left feet to grab a key role in the dog-centric "Mutt-Cracker."

The Birmingham Ballet announced "The Mutt-Cracker," a dog-themed twist on "the classic 'tail'" of "The Nutcracker," this year stars a border collie mix named Pig as the Sugar Plum Fairy's on-stage companion.

Pig is one of only seven dogs in the world known to be born with short spine syndrome, which makes it appear as though she doesn't have a neck.

The canine performs pirouettes and other dance moves on stage.

"We love having her in the show. She was perfect for the [role]," Cindy Free, director of the Birmingham Ballet, told Inside Edition. "She's a petite, dainty package of joy."

She said Pig also appeared in last year's "Mutt-Cracker" production.

"She has been working on her pirouettes since last year, and she's gotten them pretty well," Free said, "especially if you offer her bacon-chicken strips."

The "Mutt-Cracker" stars a total of 29 dogs and a portion of all ticket sales will be donated to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, the ballet said.

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