‘The Nutcracker’ turn 130 years old

The Nutcracker Ballet turns 130 years old this December. The Nutcracker is a ballet performance that follows the story of a young girl, Clara, who befriends a nutcracker that eventually comes to life the day of Christmas Eve and the two of them team up to defeat an evil mouse king.

dancer in the nutcracker
Ballerinas Dancing in the first scene of the Nutcracker. (The Classical Ballet and Opera House)

The ballet’s story and music was made by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa. It was one of the last ballets made by Tchaikovsky. The story that loosely inspired the ballet though, was a much darker one called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. 

Ballerinas and pit instruments practice all year just to perform the ballet, as it is one of the most performed ballets to exist. Some ballerinas even go as far as to say it’s the hardest experience in their dancing careers. 

In an interview by An Interview with Lauren Herfindahl: From Clara to Dew Drop – CriticalDance, Herfindahl highlights her difficult experience playing as Clara.

“Clara is onstage for almost the entire ballet, and for a child that is a huge responsibility.” She says, “There’s an enormous learning curve and so many opportunities to explore how to do it.”

In a review of the ballet, Geoffrey Larson of Classical King encourages people to go and watch the ballet, in order to be able to experience its proclaimed beautiful music in his article ‘The Nutcracker Is Awesome. You Should Go See It. | Classical KING FM 98.1’.

“What you will experience at The Nutcracker is music that grabs you from the very first note and doesn’t let go.” Larson said “his score is like a film soundtrack on steroids, entwined with the most elegant displays of physical motion onstage. I’m transfixed by the overture, in all its tightly-wound charm (the rapid-fire figuration in the woodwinds is also a blast to play).”

Larson credits his experience with The Nutcracker at a young age for his current love of the arts, and believes that by introducing it to young audiences will do the same for them.

“My experience with The Nutcracker as a child helped give me a lifetime of enjoyment and appreciation of music, dance, and live theatre in general.” Larson states, “If that’s not a reason to go yourself and take your kids, then I don’t know what is.” 

If you’re interested in seeing it, there will be performances near you on; December 17th and 18th at Poway Center for Performing Arts, December 18th at San Diego Civic Theater and more.