George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Get Cracking
December 14, 2016

What’s more festive than chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Or cracking walnuts after lunch on Christmas Day? Iconic ballet The Nutcracker by late American choreographer George Balanchine offers the nuttiest entertainment to be had this season, and is a must for anyone lucky enough to be in the Big Apple during December.

See the legendary New York City Ballet take on this magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's original score, with ethereal costumes by Karinska, snowflake-flaunting sets by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, and mesmerising movement by company co-founder Balanchine himself.

Cultured kiddies will love this two-hour heartwarmer, in which pint-sized Marie journeys towards a land made of candy, accompanied by her wooden nutcracker toy which transforms into a handsome prince. Highlights include a one-ton Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet, extracting gasps from the audience. The nine-feet-wide costume of comic Mother Ginger always gets a laugh, while the pretty crystal-shaped snowflakes that flutter through the performance add a touch of romance.

From the Snowflake Waltz to the Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy, Balanchine’s startling choreography will keep you on the edge of your seat, as reality gives way to fantasy. So popular is this version of the ballet – based on the Alexandre Dumas père version of E.T.A Hoffmann’s tale – that this complex production is performed by the company in NYC every winter. Truly enchanting.

Until 31 Dec, 2016.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker / David H. Koch Theater / 20 Lincoln Center Plaza / +1 212 496 0600 / 7pm Tue-Thu, 8pm Fri, 2pm & 8pm Sat, 1pm & 5pm Sun /

Photo - © Paul Kolnik