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The Nutcracker

Famous Ballet Project

Laura Matheson

on 2 February 2012

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Transcript of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker The ballet opens on Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house, where a grand party is beginning and the guests dance and enjoy themselves. Soon, Clara and Fritz's godfather arrives, bringing along with him wonderful lifesize toys, a bear and a ballerina, that dance. Dr. Drosselmeyer, the godfather, bestows the gift of the Nutcracker upon Clara and she falls in love with it immediately. After the party is over, Clara cannot help but play with her new Nutcracker Prince before going to bed. She sneaks down to the living room at midnight and falls asleep with the Nutcracker doll in her arms. The Prince whisks Clara away on a magical journey to the Land of Snow in return for saving his life. There, they see beautiful dancing snowflakes and the Snow Queen. Next, Clara and the Prince come across the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy and her escort greet them. Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier dance a grand pas de deux. After that, the handsome Prince returns Clara home, where she awakens from a dream and finds the Nutcracker at her side. Clara is soon awakened by an army of mice, led by the Mouse King. She sees that the Christmas tree and everything around her has grown. The Nutcracker is fighting the mice, but he's outnumbered. Clara throws her slipper at the Mouse King in order to distract him so the Nutcracker can stab him. With the Mouse King dead, the mice army flees and the Nutcracker turns into a real life prince. Clara and the Prince are then entertained by multiple dances, including the Spanish Dance, the Arabian Dance, the Russian Dance, the Chinese Dance, the Mirliton Dance, Mother Buffoon's dance, and the Waltz of the Flowers. Choreography

Maruis Petipa and Leon Ivanov
Though Petipa was the original main choreographer, he fell sick and Ivanov completed the ballet. Petipa saved the ballet from complete failure, as it's premier in 1892 was a dud. Composer

In 1891, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was commissioned by the Imperial Theatre Directorate to compose a short opera and a ballet. The Directorate chose for the pieces to be based on Alexandre Dumas' adaptation of "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King."

No matter what is changed from performance to performance of The Nutcracker, the music is always the same and is very recognizable. Tchaikovsky composed a lasting piece of music. Tchaikovsky and Petipa had previously worked together in creating "Sleeping Beauty." The Nutcracker Ballet was first created in the Classical Ballet era, when ballets began to be more about emotion and technical skill.

George Balanchine revitalized it during the Balanchine era. He helped bring The Nutcracker into the 20th century, where ballet was a great art form. Where can I see The Nutcracker??

Every year at Christmastime, many ballet companies around the country put on The Nutcracker to get into the holiday season.

Ballet Austin performs the ballet every year.

I was able to see The Nutcracker put on by Ballet West at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah last year. Fun Ballet Facts

A male ballet dancer lifts over 1.5 tons worth of ballerinas during a performance.
On average, ballerinas wear out three pairs of pointe shoes per week.
A prima ballerina can complete 32 fouette turns. Afterward, her pointe shoe tip is hot to the touch and so worn out that it's then used only for rehearsal.

Who: Kirov Ballet
What: The Nutcracker Ballet
When: December 5, 1892
Where: Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia

Critics did not like the ballet at first, saying, “For dancers there is rather little in it, for art absolutely nothing, and for the artistic fate of our ballet, one more step downward."

First Performance
Full transcript