December 2020
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Experience moments of joy and magic from The Washington Ballet’s charmingly-DC The Nutcracker – virtually!

While we can’t be in the theatre to celebrate the joy of The Nutcracker and the holiday season, The Washington Ballet is working on putting together a delightful virtual Nutcracker experience with behind-the-scenes content, interviews, special performances, and more.

Clara’s Christmas Eve Dream – in English and Español – on Marquee TV
Premiering December 1

 

View on Marquee TV

In The Washington Ballet’s “Clara’s Christmas Eve Dream,” Clara has dreamlike flashbacks to what occurred after she went to sleep on Christmas Eve, and wonders if the magical Sugar Plum Fairy, beautiful Cherry Blossoms, and the fight between The Nutcracker and the Rat King were really only in her dreams…

Narrated by TWB Ballet Master Ruben Martin Cintas and dancer Alexa Torres (Clara) in English and in Spanish, this artistic, short film is a must-see for all!

Produced and Directed by Iron Rose Productions

The Nutcracker Tea Party at Home

Sunday, December 6, 3PM ET
Streaming on YouTube and our website – Free for all to watch!

A quintessential Washington, DC holiday tradition, The Nutcracker Tea Party @Home will delight and engage your family this season. Join us for a 40-minute Nutcracker experience featuring guest performances, interactive activities, the story of The Washington Ballet’s unique production of The Nutcracker, and behind the scenes interviews, all from the comfort of your home.

View Here

Learn more about The Nutcracker Tea Party at Home here.

 

The Nutcracker Synopsis

It’s Christmas Eve in 1882 in a Georgetown mansion. Clara and her family prepare for a holiday celebration. As the guests arrive, Clara’s mysterious godfather, Mr. Drosselmeyer, enters with his handsome young nephew, who greets Clara with a kiss on her hand. Drosselmeyer entertains the guests with a puppet show and dancing dolls and presents Clara with a special gift—a nutcracker.

Jealous of his sister’s present, Fritz seizes the nutcracker and breaks it. As the party ends, Clara sadly places the nutcracker under the Christmas tree. Later that night, after everyone has gone to bed, Clara tiptoes downstairs to retrieve her nutcracker. Suddenly, the room fills with scurrying mice. Eventually, Clara falls asleep and begins to dream. When the clock strikes midnight, Drosselmeyer’s magic begins. The Christmas tree grows and a battle ensues between a brigade of toy soldiers led by a life-sized nutcracker against the Rat King and his menacing rats. As the Rat King nears victory, Clara distracts him, enabling the nutcracker to kill him. Suddenly, the nutcracker is turned into a handsome prince. He leads Clara through the enchanted winter to a glorious springtime.

Clara and her Nutcracker Prince travel to Springtime, where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. They are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, her Cavalier and her attendants: butterflies, mushrooms and other woodland creatures. When the Prince tells them how Clara saved his life, the Sugar Plum Fairy summons her subjects to entertain them with wonderful dances—Spanish and Chinese dances, a duet for an Anacostian brave and maiden. Brilliant red cardinals frolic with a Tom Cat; an American frontiersman dances with frontier girls; Mother Barnum dances with her circus clowns; and the waltz of the Cherry Blossoms is led by the Dew Drop Fairy. The celebration comes to a spectacular climax when the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a grand pas de deux. Just before the curtain falls, we see Clara asleep with her nutcracker, marking an end to her magical journey.

History of TWB's The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker was originally based on the story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse, written by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Years later, Alexander Dumas rewrote the story, making it happier and more fun for kids to read. In 1891 Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write the music for a new ballet based on the stories by the St. Petersburg Opera, but he was initially unhappy with the setting of a children’s Christmas party.

The legendary choreographer Marius Petipa presented Tchaikovsky with an exact scenario, including rhythm, tempo and number of measures for each dance. Petipa later became ill and the choreography was completed by his assistant, Lev Ivanov.

The Nutcracker debuted on December 17, 1892 in the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia, which is still the home of the Kirov Ballet today. The original cast included ballet students, just as The Washington Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet does today. The Nutcracker was not performed outside of Russia until 1934, when Nicholas Sergeyev staged it at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in England.

The Nutcracker was first mounted by The Washington Ballet in 1961. The production by TWSB and TWB founder Mary Day was performed in Constitution Hall and, beginning in 1992, at The Warner Theatre.  In 2004, the Company premiered a new all-American version of The Nutcracker by Artistic Director Septime Webre, designed just for Washington, DC.

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