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Though many audiences know the ballet’s main character as Clara, Ballet San Jose’s new Nutcracker calls her Marie, drawing the name directly from the E.T.A. Hoffmann Christmastime story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” that was the basis of Tchaikovsky’s ballet. Nahat used a slight variation of the name, calling her Maria in his version. The far more familiar “Clara” is the name of one of Marie’s dolls in the Hoffmann story repetto theatre ballet flats uk online. “I don’t really know where that came from–if it’s because of the Balanchine” production, Gabay says of the predominance of the name Clara. “But I went back to Marie.”..
The Balanchine production that Gabay refers to is a 1954 version of The Nutcracker created by legendary choreographer George Balanchine for the New York City Ballet. That production is often credited as a major influence in the ballet becoming an annual holiday tradition in the United States. The Nutcracker had its debut in Russia in 1892, but it wasn’t regularly performed during the holiday season until the 1960s, when productions became widespread in the U.S. and Canada. From Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” comes the major framework of the plot that ballet audiences everywhere will recognize. A girl (Marie) is celebrating Christmas Eve with her brother, sister, parents and family friend, Drosselmeyer, an eccentric old man who builds mechanical wonders repetto theatre ballet flats uk online. During the Christmas party, Marie discovers a nutcracker under the tree and takes an instant liking to it. Her brother breaks it, and Marie stays up till midnight tending to the doll. At the witching hour, the toys come to life and Marie is caught in the middle of an epic battle between the Nutcracker, leading troops of toys, against an army of mice led by the Mouse King. After Marie helps the Nutcracker defeat the mice–a fight that takes place over several nights in the original story–the Nutcracker turns into a prince and takes Marie to visit the enchanted candy kingdom over which he is the ruler, and invites her to become queen of the land..
Though Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” was the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s ballet, the version of the story that audiences know is an adaptation of Hoffmann’s tale written by Alexandre Dumas. And something that didn’t make it from Hoffmann’s page to the ballet stage is the backstory of the Nutcracker himself repetto theatre ballet flats uk online. “One of the motivating factors in me thinking through the story is that people had always asked me ‘Why does the Nutcracker turn into a prince?’ Gabay says. I wanted to address that and so that’s why I inserted ‘The Hard Nut,’ which is the story of how he actually became a nutcracker.”..
Most productions of the ballet don’t include the Nutcracker character’s origins, though it is part of Hoffmann’s original tale, appearing as a story within the story of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” In fact, “The Hard Nut” is not included in the original Tchaikovsky score. “The Hard Nut” is the story that Drosselmeyer shares with Marie over several days as she recovers from a bad cut she sustained during the first night’s battle between toys and mice (she’s suffering from a fever, calling into question the reliability of all the amazing things she tells her family that she has seen) repetto theatre ballet flats uk online. Drosselmeyer’s story tells the transformation of his own nephew into a nutcracker due to a curse cast by a mouse who is queen of the mouse realm, and also a witch..
In addition to portraying the Nutcracker’s origins, Ballet San Jose’s new production will utilize sets and costumes from American Ballet Theatre, which was also a major factor in shaping how the story will unfold in this production. “It’s not your typical candy palace. It’s set in a forest,” Gabay says repetto theatre ballet flats uk online. The setting isn’t the expected castle made of sweets, but audiences can still look forward to the parade of dancing confections that perform for Marie in the second act. From Arabian Coffee to Chinese Tea to Mother Gigogne who hides her family under her skirt, those talented treats are all still in the lineup. And of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy will be on hand as well, though Gabay notes she moved the part into the first act..