The Nutcracker – The Classic Holiday Treasure
“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.” —Mr. (Fred) Rogers
For those of us who love music and dance The Nutcracker ballet is, perhaps, the quintessential holiday season story. The Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was commissioned by mastermind choreographer Marius Petipa, chief ballet master of the Russian Imperial Ballet, to compose the ballet and base the score on Alexandre Dumas’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
In the story the young Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. In the ballet, Marie’s name is usually change to Clara.
Over 100 years old, The Nutcracker ballet was first presented at the Mayinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 17th, 1892. Despite the fact that Czar Alexander III was delighted with the ballet, this first production was a failure. Apparently neither the audience nor the critics liked it.
For dancers, there is rather little in it, for art absolutely nothing, and for the artistic fate of our ballet, one more step downward.” —Russian critic on first performance of The Nutcracker *
However, as time went on, the ballet gained popularity, especially in the United States. The first performance of The Nutcracker in the United States was by the San Francisco Opera Ballet, in 1944. George Balanchine, who grew up in Russia, danced the role of the Prince in The Nutcracker in 1919 when he was 15 years old. After he came to America and founded the New York City Ballet, Mr. Balanchine decided to choreograph his own version of The Nutcracker for his company. The first performance of this production was on February 2, 1954, in New York City.º With its now familiar story and anticipated moments, the lyrical and enchanting, magical story of Clara and her Nutcracker is a holiday ritual for many.
Take a browse through the Hudson Dance event calendar and be sure not to miss your Nutcracker this year!
Better yet, introduce the ballet to an unacquainted friend. Or give a child a glimpse into the delightful world of ballet and stroytelling … should you have fears of ending up in the lobby with your little one, you can always bring The Nutcracker activity book with some crayons. Either way, go take in this classic tale and enjoy!
————————————————– • ————————————————
Ever wonder how the the wonderland of Nutcracker gets onto the stage?
… Then add the dancers for the magic to begin!
sources: * Secret Lives of Great Composers by Elizabeth Lunday (Quick Productions, Inc.), º New York City Ballet History of The Nutcracker
Other Upcoming Events
Friday, December 13th 2013 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 14th 2013 at 2:00 pm
Saturday, December 14th 2013 at 2:30 pm
Saturday, December 14th 2013 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 14th 2013 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 14th 2013 at 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 15th 2013 at 2:00 pm