The Nutcracker Unwrapped
If You've Never Experienced It, The Nutcracker Unwrapped is for You
by Celeste González, Contributing Writer
The holiday season always introduces a wonderful selection of live theater, opera, and ballet. And, of course, one of the most recognized amongst lovers of ballet is The Nutcracker.
This production was created with the help of Ivan Vzevolozhsky, the director of theater, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who composed the musical score, choreographer Marius Petipa, and E.T.A Hoffman, after whose book the ballet was created.
There are many enticing aspects of this beloved production - the dancing, music, and unraveling of the plot. So, allow me to introduce you to The Nutcracker Ballet.
The Story of The Nutcracker Ballet
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, centering on Clara, the goddaughter of Drosselmeyer who is not only a councilman but a talented magician. Drosselmeyer gives Clara a Nutcracker toy she’s just crazy about and cherishes.
Later that night, chaos ensues as the clock strikes midnight because Clara is ushered into a magical adventure. Her nutcracker comes alive and turns into the lifesized Nutcracker Prince to face off against the evil Mouse King. Then, they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Land of Sweets, where you might expect the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (and you’d be right!).
While the ballet dancers are mesmerizing to the eyes, the music is just as important. Some showgoers attend year after year simply for the memorable composition.
Original Score by Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky's original score is easily one of the most well-known. Can you hear Waltz of the Flowers right now? The melodic and graceful music captivates its listeners like no other. As the ballet dancers match the tempo and beat of the score, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
While the score is often the same, it’s important to note that every ballet is different, and thus things are constantly changing or being modernized to appeal to different audiences which can just as easily be another great reason to attend the ballet.
Most Prominent Productions of The Nutcracker Ballet
It is often said that nothing beats the original, and while this may be true, it shouldn’t prevent you from seeing something new and unexpected. To cater to different audiences, productions will frequently change the plot, gender roles, music, or approach. While it might not be historically accurate, it does provide a unique perspective on a well-known classic and enough to attract new audiences.
With that said, here are some shows worth watching:
- George Balanchine’s: The Nutcracker New York Ballet
- Helgi Tommason’s: Nutcracker San Francisco Ballet
- Victoria Morgan’s: The Nutcracker Cincinnati Ballet
- David Nixon’s: The Nutcracker The Northern Ballet
- Peter Wright’s: The Nutcracker Birmingham Royal Ballet
- Austin McCormick’s: Nutcracker Rouge XIV Company
So Many Opportunities to Experience The Nutcracker
All of these productions, as well as the many other global performances, provide a childlike joy and a wonderful start to the holiday season. See the original or a fun twist. Either way, make a point to get tickets to The Nutcracker Ballet this year. You’ll love it!
Ballet Lover? Theatre Lover? Comedy Lover?
Do you love ballet? How about theatre? Or even comedy shows? If so, then be sure to see if OTL Seat Fillers is in your area. You’ll appreciate private invitations and free pairs of tickets to amazing shows like The Nutcracker. Gift memberships are also available. They’re the BEST gifts, too!
About the Author
Celeste González is a Latina creative writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Feminist Studies from UC Santa Barbara. From Bakersfield California, much of her writing relates to the Chicanx/Latinx experience and women’s shared experiences in the environment.