New York City Ballet presents the holiday classic choreographed by George Balanchine. Tschaikovsky’s timeless melodies take the audience to a land in which mischievous mice battle an army of toy soldiers, and an otherworldly blizzard transports the audience to the magical Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy.
With luscious costumes and elaborate set, including a Christmas tree that grows from 12 feet to 40 feet and the continuous flutter of falling crystal shaped snowflakes. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is one of the most demanding theatrical, staged ballets in the New York City Ballet’s repertory. All 90 dancers as well as two casts of 50 students from the School of American Ballet are marshaled to bring this epic and unforgettable holiday masterpiece to life.
The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers' imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 40 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer's head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).
While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine's choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the "Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy" and there is no turning back.