Nothing rings in the holidays like The Nutcracker ballet. The music is synonymous with the holiday season, and the story is as popular as the “Night Before Christmas.” Not to mention, it is one of the most famous ballets of all time. This ballet has earned global recognition due to the hundreds of performances that take place every year across the world.
The story takes place on Christmas Eve when a family celebrates the holiday and decorates their tree. The crafty godfather to Clara and Fritz presents the children with their Christmas gifts. When the children fall asleep, the young girl has a dream that a nutcracker comes to life. The Nutcracker and Clara go on an adventure and have to fight off the likes of the evil mouse king and his army of rodents. Afterward, these two protagonists turn into a prince and a princess. This is a performance that weaves artistic ability and storytelling, as it is a wonderful story made all the better with music and dancing.
The Music and Dance
The Nutcracker ballet is a Russian play originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in 1892 and scored by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. If you have not seen the ballet, you may be familiar with Tchaikovsky’s time-tested score. The ballet is made up of dance techniques from Spanish, Arabian, and Chinese cultures. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is also one of the most popular performances.
Room for Imagination and Interpretation
The Nutcracker ballet’s plot is open to one’s imagination due to the lack of spoken lines. Some interpretations allude that it is a coming of age story. In the story, Clara is a young teenager but still displays childlike qualities. When she receives the gift from her godfather, she quickly clings to the handsome doll. During her dream, she shows her bravery in saving the doll by throwing a shoe at the mouse king. Her dream then leads her to create a fantasy in which the Nutcracker turns into a prince. From there she goes on a magical journey that can be seen as romantic as the two travel to the Kingdom of Sweets. This magical dream is symbolic of Clara transitioning from a girl into a young adult.
Above all else, this is a story and performance for theater fans of all ages. Children can identify with the lead characters and the magic of Christmas while the adults can appreciate the historic Tchaikovsky score and mesmerizing dance numbers and choreography. Whether it is your first time or hundredth, this ballet is a show that demands numerous viewings.