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Work: The Nutcracker

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Fact file
ComposerTchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840-1893)
PeriodRomantic
Year1892
Work typeDance
Upcoming eventsSee more...

MunichDer Nussknacker

© Wilfried Hösl
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Bavarian State Ballet; Gavin Sutherland; Robertas Šervenikas; Jürgen Rose

LondonNutcracker

© Jason Bell
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Wayne Eagling; English National Ballet; Peter Farmer; David Richardson

MilanThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
George Balanchine; Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company; Felix Korobov; Margherita Palli; Marco Filibeck

BirminghamThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Sir Peter Wright; Birmingham Royal Ballet; John Macfarlane; David Finn; Royal Ballet Sinfonia

LilleGábor Káli Conducts The Nutcracker in Concert

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Orchestre National de Lille; Gábor Káli
Latest reviewsSee more...

San Francisco Ballet celebrates 75 years of Nutcracker

Mathilde Froustey and Luke Ingham in Tomasson's Nutcracker © Erik Tomasson
In Helgi Tomasson's production, Michael Yeargan’s scenic design and the late Martin Pakledinaz’ sumptuous costumes create a scene so charming, you just want to climb inside and stay in that world all evening and beyond.
****1
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Erina Takahashi sparkles as ENB’s Nutcracker returns

Erina Takahashi (Clara/Sugar Plum Fairy) and Francesco Gabriele Frola (Nephew) © Laurent Liotardo
Despite confused storytelling in Wayne Eagling's version of ETA Hoffmann's tale, ENB's Nutcracker has some lovely dancing. 
***11
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Balanchine's Nutcracker remains a timeless holiday gift

New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker © Erin Baiano
Balanchine’s Nutcracker may have premiered in 1954, but every year tickets sell out for this festive treat. 
*****
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The Joffrey Nutcracker rises from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago

The Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker © Cheryl Mann
The Joffrey Nutcracker succeeds in redefining the socio-economic situation of the protagonists, but throws out the baby with the bathwater.
**111
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Balanchine's Nutcracker returns in all its annual glory

Leta Biasucci (Sugar Plum Fairy) © Angela Sterling
Great story, colorful costumes and sets, dozens of performers all add up to the annual extravaganza of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Pacific Northwest Ballet's superb artists portray its wonders again.
*****
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Biography
Tomomi Sato as Marie in Scottish Ballet's Nutcracker © Graham Wylie
Tomomi Sato as Marie in Scottish Ballet's Nutcracker
© Graham Wylie

In Europe and North America, there’s no question about which is the most popular ballet ever created: Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker is miles ahead of the pack. It’s become a staple Christmas family entertainment, even for people who are not habitual ballet-goers.

The Nutcracker’s magic is very deep. The fairy-tale story, which comes from E. T. A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, gives boundless scope to children’s imagination, with the biggest flights of fancy coming in Act II in the series of dances performed for Marie and the Prince, each with its own exotic flavour. It all seems to infect stage designers and choreographers: over the years, they have produced a miraculous variety of delightful settings. But the biggest miracle of all is Tchaikovsky’s music, which creates the atmosphere of fairy tale and breathes life into the characters - even the wooden ones.

Children of all ages love The Nutcracker: for many dancers, it was a performance of the Nutcracker that first brought them into ballet. You can read a selection of quotes below from children of all ages who have seen it and never forgotten their experience. By the way, the heroine is either called Clara or Marie: both names are used!

We're very grateful to the Royal Academy of Dance and Central Scotland Ballet School and those pupils who answered our questions, and to Scottish Ballet for the photo.

 

Whether you're taking a teenager...

I first saw the Nutcracker when I was two, but it had an utterly huge impact on me because 14 years later I can still visualise the breathtaking dancing and hear the incredible music! Definitely one of the biggest highlights of my childhood.
Brogan, 16
My favourite bit is the Pas de Deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince as I love the lifts they do! I remember the first time I went to see it I was quite young, and watching all the children dancing in the first Act, at the Christmas party, was really fun as you don't often get to see children dancing in ballet productions...The music is amazing and the costumes and set are so Christmassy it really gets you in the festive mood! I really enjoyed all of it!
Katrina, 18
...I was at Covent Garden with my dad! I ... remember the opening scene, the toymaker was pottering around his workshop making toys...Last time I was dancing in it and my most prominent memory was of the pas de deux with the prince and sugar plum fairy!...The dancers were dancing with all their hearts, the amount of effort was incredible. They were so perfect!
Aisling O'Keefe, 13
The best part is when Clara goes to meet the different characters in her dream. I remember the King and Queen dancing in the real snow on the stage, and the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing with the Prince in the land of sweets.
Hannah, 13
I've seen it twice and loved the Christmas feeling of it all, the growing christmas tree, the festivities, the land of snow and sweets. Such amazing memories of both performances, was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time!
Clara, 12

Or someone younger...

I think the Nutcracker is magical. I like when the christmas tree grows huge, and when the Nutcracker and the mice fight and the mice jump over their tails like skipping ropes. I think the sugar Plum fairy is pretty and I like it when she dances with the prince in the land of sweets.
Phoebe-Rae, 10

What do you love best in the Nutcracker?
...when [Clara] received a present from her aunty wich is a toy "Nutcracker". Sofia D
...when they pick up all the presents. Sofia L
I love Clara the best. She is about the same age as me and always dances beautifully. The first time I saw it I remember laughing at the Bon-bons! They made me laugh so much! The last time I saw the Nutcracker, I remember the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. My mum was crying (as usual) because it was so lovely. I’ve been a Liquorice Allsort in the Nutcracker with Ballet West. It was nerve-wracking but exciting and amazing to be in such a famous ballet. I loved it! I’m going to be in it again in February.
Eve, 11
I have seen the Nutcracker ballet 4 times and I’ve danced in it too with Ballet West as a Bon-bon. I had to do back flips! My favourite character is Mother Ginger and all the Bon-bons and I like the pas de deux because it is beautiful.
Dayna, 10
My favourite bit was the big skirt Mother Ginger had and all the Bon-bons that were hiding underneath!
Claudia, 11
I saw the Nutcracker with my Gran when I was only 7. I can remember the beautiful dance Clara did when she got saved from the rats and mice... When I grow up I want to dance in the Nutcracker and be a ballerina.
Polly, 10
What do you remember about the first time you ever saw it?
Everything
Myla, age 7