You may be wondering if there are any reasons to see the Nutcracker Ballet this year. Well, I am here to tell you there are several reasons to see the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is synonymous with the holiday season, so much so that the score Tchaikovsky wrote for the ballet is everywhere from department stores to television commercials. Seeing the Nutcracker is a holiday tradition in many households, and I think you will want to make it a tradition in your family if it already is not one.
1. The Music
Whether you know it or not, Tchaikovsky has visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. The «Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy» is played everywhere during the holiday season and is an excellent example of the delightful music you will hear at the ballet. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score is beautiful and is a wonderful introduction to classical music. Aside from being beautiful, the music is so reminiscent of the holidays that it can instantly put you in the holiday mood which is one of many reasons to see the Nutcracker. I know when I hear the music I always think of the Christmas season. I also think of endless rehearsals, but that is another story.
2. The Orchestra
If you have children, the ballet is always a great place for them to first see an orchestra. When I was a little girl I would always go and watch the orchestra warming up before the ballet began. It was so enthralling to see the men in their tuxedos and the women in their black dresses playing their shiny instruments. I am not sure I would have had the patience to see a symphony, but at the ballet there are dancers to watch which makes the orchestra all the more fascinating. Also, in the snow scene the vocalists harmonize beautifully with the orchestra.
3. Fanciful Costumes
As a woman who still is a girl at heart, I can tell you that the costumes in the Nutcracker Ballet are enough to make any woman want to twirl in her skirt. All of the costumes are magnificent, but the costumes in the second act are especially exquisite. The Sugar Plum fairy dances in her beautiful tutu, and the Arabian dancer showcases her exotic costume. It never ceases to amaze me how skilled the seamstresses must be to create such fanciful costumes for the dancers to wear. If you loved dressing up when you were little as much as I did, then you will love seeing the costumes in the Nutcracker.
4. The Set
The set design for the Nutcracker ballet is often very elaborate and mesmerizing. One of the hallmarks of the ballet is the Christmas tree that grows in the first act. Even for adults, the growing tree can be quite amazing to see. The backdrops are also beautifully painted andit's like looking at works of art. Even as a dancer in the ballet, I was always astonished with the extravagant set designs, and I loved when I had the opportunity to go out in the audience to just see the full effect of the sets.
5. The Story
The Nutcracker is the perfect ballet to attend if going to the ballet is a new experience for you and your family. Unlike classical ballets, the storyline is very easy to follow and has enough whimsy that adults and children can enjoy the ballet. In the Nutcracker, the young girl, Clara, is given a toy nutcracker that becomes human and takes her to a fantasy land in the middle of the night. In the first act there is a party scene for the girls and a fight scene with giant mice for the boys. The second act showcases dancing with characters from around the world. The story of the Nutcracker really does have something for everyone, which makes it a great ballet for the whole family.
Comedy may not be the first thing that enters your mind when you think of the Nutcracker; however, there are several comedic moments in the ballet. Each artistic director conveys the story a little differently, but typically the party scene has several funny incidents. One year I had the honor to play the grandmother who became very active during the parent’s dance and spun out of control. Other artistic directors have shown grandma getting a little tipsy or Clara’s brother getting spanked. The second act also has comedy with the giant Mother Ginger, typically played by a man, and her children who hide in her skirt. This isn’t the comedy of Ellen DeGeneres, but the comedy in the Nutcracker does provide a little amusement.
One of the top reasons to go to the Nutcracker is to watch the ballet dancers execute artistic and precise movements with the music. Although ballet is an art form, the ease with which the dancers move requires extreme athleticism, and I always enjoy and appreciate the strength of the dancers. Maybe it’s because I am a former dancer, but there is something so enthralling about watching a dancer who perfectly performs 32 fouettes. It is absolutely breathtaking. Even if you can’t appreciate the technical terms, I am sure you can appreciate the muscular men!
The Nutcracker Ballet has become a holiday tradition for me. Whether I am performing in it or watching it, nothing evokes the holidays quite like the Nutcracker. I hope that if you have the opportunity, you will go see the ballet this season and that it brings you the same holiday joy that it has brought me for many years. Did you see the Nutcracker Ballet as a child? What is your favorite part of the ballet?