Dec 16, 2011

The Nutcracker

The holiday season is benchmarked by many things to me. 
The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center - image via Kelly-Mooney Photography

But this classic ballet set to Tchaikovsky's exhilarating score is the most elegant of Christmastime traditions.  Many people say it's slow and a bit schmaltzy, but I'm a sucker for 'The Nutcracker.'  I've attended countless performances of the ballet by different dance companies in many different venues.  No matter if they're local children or world-renowned ballerinas, the performers always tug at my holiday heartstrings through dainty dances and the wonderful plot of this classic story. 

There is a holiday party at Clara's house.  She and all the kids play and dance.
image via Cho Photography

Clara's mysterious godfather brings her a gift, a handsome wooden nutcracker.
image via Peter Norvig Photography

Clara is absolutely smitten with the gift. She falls asleep in the parlour under the Christmas tree with the nutcracker.
image via Hong Kong Ballet

Clara dreams that the Nutcracker comes to life to defend her against the invading mice army.
image via Will Brenner Photography

The Mouse King and his army are really scary, but Clara is saved
by the Nutcracker's heroic bravery.
image by Rosalie O'Connor via Faster Times

The Nutcracker turns into a Prince, who whisks her away to a magic snow kingdom.
image via Hong Kong Ballet

They are greeted by dancing snowflakes in the enchanted forest.
image via Mazzaferro Photography

The Prince escorts Clara to the Land of Sweets where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. They tell the fairy about their daring battle with the army of mice
and she rewards them with a celebration of dances.
image via Will Brenner Photography
image by Carol Pratt for the Washington Ballet

Mother Ginger, a gingerbread house-like apparition,
opens her skirt to free dozens of dancing gingerbread cookies.
image (and very cute backstory) via Dumping My Purse

image via Brio Dance Company

The Land of Sweets send Clara and the Prince off with a stunning parade farewell.
image by Jim McFarlane via the Berkshire Review

Clara awakens from her dream and finds herself by her Christmas tree with her beloved Nutcracker.
image via Carlos Echenique

If you have a chance to see this classic Christmas performance (and there's probably one in your area), support the Arts and treat yourself to this magical tale with superb orchestral score.

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