With thanksgiving only a week away and christmas following right on its tail, it’s that time of year again when snowflakes and sugar plum fairies flit and fly across the stage. I’m talking of course about the beloved story of the nutcracker. This classic tale has enchanted audiences for centuries, but do many of us know how it came to be?
In 1816, e.T.A. Hoffman published the nutracker and the mouse king, which was an adults-only frightening tale. Later, alexander dumas, père worked his magic to make it a child-friendly happy tale. The russian imperial ballet decided to turn this tale into a balled and commissioned peter ilyitch tschaikovsky to score the music many of us can identify today. The first performance was held in russia in 1892. George balanchine choreographed is own version of the ballet for the new york city ballet where it premiered in 1954. Ever since, the ballet production has become an annual holiday tradition.
Seeing the nutcracker for the first time with your child is a magical experience for both. I still remember the first time my mom took me to this performance and we’ve been back several times since. A few years ago I had the privilege of seeing a dance student of mine that I had trained perform the lead role of clara. I was so proud to see her shine on the stage in her dream role. Ballet companies across the country perform this classic during the holiday season and should not be missed!
Don’t forget about design dance’s own nutcracker drop & shop at chase park dec. 20th! You’re invited to get your last minute shopping done while we take your child on a journey through the nutcracker! Students will spend the morning learning dances from the classic nutcracker ballet, making holiday crafts and preparing a short showcase for parents. Register online starting november 17!
Here’s a list of companies in the chicago area performing the nutcracker with links to their ticket information:
Ruth Page Civic Ballet (Special Tea With Clara Opportunity!)
-sarah frye, design dance instructor