Professional ballet dancers typically work through the holidays performing one of the Nutcracker versions, up to ten ballet performances a week. If you are a ballet student rehearsing for your local Nutcracker, get those pointe shoes ready! Always have an extras pair broken in and ready to go. If you are a ballet fan, get your Nutcracker tickets now. Check for group and student rates at your theaters, and consider giving Nutcracker tickets for holiday gifts.
The Nutcracker ballet versions that we can see now have developed from a rich history. The Nutcracker began as a somewhat dark story of magic, a fairy tale that we might not choose for our young children. Originally, Clara was a doll of the central character Maria. She came alive and helped the wounded Nutcracker doll who had engaged in heavy combat wit the Mouse King.
Tchaikovsky used some contemporary music, a popular children's song, as well as a contemporary song people played or sang as party guests departed for home. The full Nutcracker score that we know now developed in stages.
Anna Pavlova's Company performed a version of Nutcracker in 1915, choreographed by Ivan Clustine, called "Snowflakes". The Bolshoi Ballet presented a version of the ballet in 1919, choreographed by
The Kirov Ballet's first Nutcracker version was presented 1929, and outside of Russia, the Vic-Wells Ballet produced the first English version in 1934, choreographed by Nicholas Sergueyev.
Lew Christensen is responsible for the first full-length American version of the Nutcracker, opened by the San Francisco Ballet, in 1954.
There are approximately 30 more professional full length versions of the Nutcracker that have endured through ballet history.
The magical character of Uncle Drosselmeyer has been portrayed in many imaginative ways. In some versions he is a character part with little dancing. In one version he is a tap dancer!
Many versions of the Nutcracker on DVD, are available to children everywhere.
The Nutcracker music, the lush costumes and sets, and the magic, has kept audiences entertained for generations. And, naturally, the Nutcracker has contributed to developing ballet audiences, as it is often the first ballet children see, and many are hooked for life.
http://www.balletmet.org/Notes/NutHist.html is a link taking you to the finer details of Nutcracker history.
Scampering mice, Snowflakes in pointe shoes, lights, music and magic - there are many Nutcracker versions for ballet dancers and ballet fans. Enjoy!
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