The Nutcracker Ballet A Holiday Tradition

“All for one, and one for all,” is a commonly known phrase from Alexander Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers,” but did you know that Dumas also did an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, “The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice” as well as write swashbuckling tales? It’s true, Dumas’ adaptation became the basis for Marius Petipa’s choreography for the ballet, The Nutcracker. Traditionally set to music by Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker ballet is a must see for audiences all over the United States, including Arizona. (In fact, the Moscow Ballet returns in Phoenix on its tour this year; see details below). Today the Liv Northgate Blog has a synopsis of the story for those not familiar with it as well as information on performances in the greater Gilbert area — so head out from your apartment one evening this month and enjoy this December tradition.  


The Story of ‘The Nutcracker’

In a nutshell, The Nutcracker is the story of a young German girl, Clara, who receives a nutcracker as a gift from her godfather and later dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. Following the battle, the prince comes to life and she explores an enchanting land of sweets visiting the Sugar Plum fairy, before awakening.


For a more in depth look at the story, Nutcracker Ballet presents a complete synopsis: The Nutcracker Ballet Story: The Most Common of Many Variations, or watch this Youtube video that captures the story of The Nutcracker in five minutes.


The music, composed by Tchaikovsky, “has enchanted audiences around the world for over a century,” according to author Daniel Jaffe. The music is now world famous, but Tchaikovsky was “discovered” by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, the head of the Directorate of Imperial Theatres in Russia. Vsevolozhsky, “one of ballet’s unsung heroes, . . . not only nurtured Tchaikovsky’s talent for the form, inspiring him to compose Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, but he also raised ballet to a high art-form.”  And thus, The Nutcracker remains perhaps the most popular ballet ever performed.


Performances in the Greater Gilbert Area

There are several performance options to see The Nutcracker this year in the Gilbert, Mesa, and Phoenix area.


Southwest Youth Ballet

“Join the Southwest Youth Ballet as they celebrate their eleventh season!  Under the artistic direction of renown ballerina, Yen-Li Chen, the Southwest Youth Ballet shares this holiday classic the whole family will love.  Enjoy the ballet accompanied with live music performed by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alex Zhang.”


Ballet Etudes

From the website: “Experience "a royally entertaining show" (The Arizona Republic) and “…an East Valley tradition…and a heartfelt artistic experience,” (The East Valley Tribune) as Ballet Etudes presents its 31st annual production of The Nutcracker. Let Clara's magical journey surround you as she encounters life-size mice, swirling snowflakes, dancing confections and the Sugar Plum Fairy. A feast for the eyes and ears with colorful and imaginative costumes paired with Tchaikovsky's original score, Ballet Etudes' The Nutcracker is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season with the entire family.”


Moscow Ballet

If you are up to traveling a bit, this performance promises to be amazing. From the website: “All ages are invited to celebrate Christmas with the Moscow Ballet company of almost 40 ballerinas and danseurs on their 25th Anniversary Tour of North America in 2017. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is known for its award-winning Principal Dancers, lavish costumes in the style of the Victorian era, many backdrops created by “La La Land’ . . .Adults and children enjoy the special effects of the flapping winged owl on the Grandfather clock, the growing 50 ft tall Christmas Tree, the Dove of Peace with a 20ft wingspan, and of course, the leaps, spins, and extraordinary moves of the company all performed to Tchaikovsky’s complete and incomparable score.”


We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of The Nutcracker! Stay tuned all month for fun blogs about holiday topics! Thanks for reading today.

The Nutcracker Ballet  A Holiday Tradition