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A holiday favorite and cherished tradition for many, The Nutcracker is a timeless classic choreographed around the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Written in 1892, The Nutcracker is a beloved part of the holiday season for many families the world over. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a Broadway staple, and is based on the Alexandre Dumas version of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816). This full-scale production features superb choreography danced by the New York City Ballet. With 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stage-hands, and two casts of 50 young students from the School of American Ballet, The Nutcracker is a magical journey of epic proportions.
While the incredible dancers light up the stage with their graceful movements and clean lines, it is the elaborate set work that takes center stage in this production of The Nutcracker. From the one-ton Christmas tree that grows to a height of 40 feet right before your eyes, to the nine-foot wide Mother Ginger costume that requires three stagehands to operate in addition to the dancer inside, the attention to detail and the design crew’s willingness to push the envelope are a sight to behold.
Then, there’s Balanchine’s choreography, which is known for its technical difficulty and its focus on the tiniest detail. His movements tell the story so vividly, it’s no surprise that this amazing choreography would require an equally amazing ballet company to fill the role. While The Nutcracker is performed in hundreds of venues throughout the United States, there is no performance equal to that of the New York City Ballet performing this visually stunning masterpiece.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is one of the most complex and physically demanding staged ballets in the New York City Ballet Company’s active repertoire, and it continues to be an immensely popular show. The entire Company immerses itself in the production for the duration of the season, adding their own unique touches to every aspect of the show. From the collection for reuse of the pure, crystal-shaped snowflakes that fall almost constantly throughout the show, to the Principal Dancers breathtaking movements, every single person involved in the show is an important part of The Nutcracker experience, and their dedication is evident.
The cast itself varies from night to night, with many principal roles being played by several different dancers from the New York City Ballet. There are guest artists from time to time, including the talented Robert La Fosse as Herr Drosselmeier. An accomplished dancer, La Fosse was invited to join the New York City Ballet as a Principal Dancer in 1986. In addition to his numerous achievements in the classical ballet world, La Fosse has also starred in several Broadway productions, earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor for his role in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.
The Nutcracker Show Dates
The Nutcracker keeps the traditional schedule, opening on November 24th and running until December 31st. While you can catch The Nutcracker in practically every major city during this time of year, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is playing exclusively at the David H. Koch Theater in New York.
The Nutcracker is suitable for audiences of all ages. The dazzling array of costumes, lively music, beautiful dances, and colorful scenes are sure to keep even the youngest fans enchanted during the two act show. While The Nutcracker is suitable for all ages, parents should use their best judgement and ensure that little ones are able to sit quietly for at least 45 minutes as the show is broken up into two segments about 45 minutes each with an intermission in between.
The Nutcracker Runtime
The Nutcracker tends to run under 2 hours with one intermission. As with any live show, it could run slightly shorter or slightly longer.