As we drift slowly toward wintertime, more and more Christmas-y outings and excursions start appearing on our calendars. And what could be more quintessentially Christmastime than The Nutcracker ballet? A fantastic outing for the whole family or a romantic and thoughtful date night, a visit to The Nutcracker is a long-standing tradition for many. No matter where you’re located across the nation, there’s sure to be a nearby ballet company performing this famous holiday masterpiece!
We’ve got tons of tickets to The Nutcracker at great prices on Razorgator – and you can even sort based on your city to see what’s close to you. If you’re not into ballet, this fairytale classic is the perfect way to dip your toe into the scene. Here’s everything you need to know about The Nutcracker ballet!
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Where is The Nutcracker from? Who wrote it?
The Nutcracker is originally a Russian ballet choreographed in 1889 by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The storyline comes from “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” which was written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and adapted by Alexandre Dumas (the same author who wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers). The plot was changed and simplified for the ballet, including the part about how the prince was changed into a Nutcracker in the first place!
You may not know the name Tchaikovsky, but this Russian composer also wrote the scores of famous ballets like Swan Lake. A few years after the success of his other fairytale ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, he was commissioned to compose yet another. The resulting production of The Nutcracker finally premiered in Saint Petersburg a week before Christmas in 1892.
Originally, The Nutcracker was not a successful production or even a well-known name in the ballet world. However, it slowly expanded outside of Russia – to England in the 1930s and the US in the 1940s. In New York City, it eventually received new staging by George Balanchine, the father of American ballet and one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century. This turned out to be the key to its success, and since the 1960s, The Nutcracker has become one of the most popular ballets in the world, particularly so across North America during Christmastime. It has since been incorporated into many children’s books and movies.
According to research, major American ballet companies derive about 40% of their annual ticket revenue from productions of The Nutcracker. It’s one of the most family-friendly ballets out there, and for that reason, many children’s ballet companies perform it during the holidays and schools take field trips to go see it. The iconic score is used in holiday movies and has become perhaps the most famous work of Tchaikovsky. Come on, everybody knows the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” They even used it in Home Alone!
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What’s The Nutcracker Storyline About?
The Nutcracker is composed of two acts and tells the story of a young German girl, Clara, who learns of romance and comes of age on Christmas Eve. Of course, there’s a little magic involved too. While the ballet is a simplification of the original story, Act I begins as a Christmas party unfolds in her home and a local toymaker introduces dancing dolls and a nutcracker to the children. When the clock strikes midnight, Clara sees that the nutcracker has become lifesize, gingerbread soldiers are now lifelike, and several mice – led by the Mouse King! – have invaded the house to take them on in battle.
Not to give it all away, but soon the nutcracker changes into a handsome prince who leads Clara into his magical world. Act II begins as they enter The Land of Sweets and receive a welcome from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
So… what is The Great Russian Nutcracker?
In your quest for ballet tickets, you may also stumble upon something called The Great Russian Nutcracker. This is the Moscow Ballet’s version of the traditional ballet, and it includes a few different elements. Clara is called “Masha,” and the story is set in the city of Moscow with a Kremlin-esque skyline as the backdrop. Russian folk characters like Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden accompany Masha and her Nutcracker Prince to the dream world. There is also a Dove of Peace that welcomes them when they enter “The Land of Peace and Harmony” rather than The Land of Sweets.
Choose whichever performance of The Nutcracker you like – traditional or Russian, big city ballet company or small – they’re all sure to be whimsical, magical, and spectacular!
Shop Cheap Tickets to see The Nutcracker! It’s a classic holiday spectacle!