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Work: The Nutcracker

Fact file
ComposerTchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840-1893)
PeriodRomantic
Year1892
Work typeDance
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MadridThe NutcrackerNew Production

The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; José Carlos Martínez; Compañía Nacional de Danza; Manuel Coves; Monica Borromello; Inaki Cobos

LeipzigDer Nussknacker

© Ida Zenna
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Jean-Philippe Dury; Leipziger Ballet; Yoko Seyama; Aleksandar Noshpal; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Leipzig Opera Children's Choir

MunichDer Nussknacker

Der Nussknacker
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
John Neumeier; Bavarian State Ballet; Robertas Servenikas; Jürgen Rose; Bayerisches Staatsorchester

HullThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Northern Ballet

NorwichThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Northern Ballet
Latest reviewsSee more...

Clara captivates in Moscow Ballet's The Nutcracker

It’s easy to imagine watching with a candy cane or mulled wine in hand. The Moscow Ballet captures The Nutcracker's festive vivacity and beauty in equal amounts.
****1
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Les Grands' Casse Noisette

© Veronyc Vachon
Casse Noisette (the Nutcracker) is an annual tradition for shrieking hoardes of ballet-lovers all over the globe. If you want to keep it real, I heartily recommend a Sunday matinee.
***11
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ENB's Nutcracker

Guilherme Menezes (the Nutcracker) and Shiori Kase (Clara) in ENB’s Nutcracker © Laurent Liotardo
Exuberant performances have revitalised Wayne Eagling's radical interpretation of The Nutcracker as ENB's enduring tradition approaches 70 consecutive years.  
****1
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SFB: Nutcracker

Rubén Martín Cintas in Tomasson's Nutcracker © Erik Tommason
Wednesday night at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Ballet’s opening night, offered a deeply comforting, festive return to a sparkling production that never fails to delight.
****1
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Scottish Ballet's Nutcracker : A Festive Delight

Sophie Martin (Sugar Plum Fairy) and Christopher Harrison (The Nutcracker) © Andy Ross
Scottish Ballet's The Nutcracker, at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre sweeps the audience away to a magical snowscape of childhood wonder and sugar confectionery.
****1
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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