Work: The Nutcracker

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

ZürichThe Nutcracker and the Mouse KingNew Production

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Christian Spuck; Ballett Zürich; Paul Connelly; Yannis Pouspourikas; Rufus Didwiszus; Buki Shiff

TokyoThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Wayne Eagling; The National Ballet of Japan; Alexei Baklan; Naoji Kawaguchi; Ayako Maeda; Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

LeipzigThe Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Jean-Philippe Dury; Leipziger Ballet; Christoph Gedschold; Yoko Seyama; Aleksandar Noshpal; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

DijonLa véritable histoire de Casse-Noisette

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Marius Petipa; Lev Ivanov; Gergely Madaras; Orchestre Dijon-Bourgogne; Géraldine Aliberti; Régis Royer

PooleThe Snowman

Blake, Tchaikovsky
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Hugh Brunt; Pui Fan Lee
Latest reviewsSee more...

A Musical Nutcracker at the Bolshoi

The Bolshoi chooses musicality and technique over special effects with Yuri Grigorovich's beloved classic.
****1
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A Nutcracker cracking at the seams in Florence

Principals Anbeta Toromani and Alessandro Macario shine in an otherwise underwhelming production.
**111
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Confusion in the chocolate box

Wayne Eagling’s version for English National Ballet, however, risks confusing those new to ballet – and a few more experienced hands – thanks to muddled storytelling.  
**111
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SFB: Nutcracker

Tomasson's Land of Snow is a feast for the eyes. Principals Mathilde Froustey and Carlo di Lanno were a gorgeous, impeccable Snow Queen and King in one of the most reliably spectacular sections of this production.
****1
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Balanchine's magical Nutcracker

For that special evening out during the holiday season, you can’t go wrong with New York City Ballet’s warhorse version of The Nutcracker.
***11
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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 Farque, 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