The Nutcracker Primer
by Karen Kain
December 11, 2019


The theatre always comes alive at this time of year as loved ones gather and share in the excitement of the season. For many in our audience, this spectacular production is a cherished tradition and for others, it marks their introduction to ballet. What an honour to be part of these memorable experiences, particularly for children, whose sense of adventure is so integral to the spirit of The Nutcracker, both onstage and off.
The Children of The Nutcracker
Children have long been at the heart of The Nutcracker. The ballet is based on the 1816 story by E.T.A Hoffmann, in which the young girl Marie travels to a magical land with her Nutcracker doll. James Kudelka’s 1995 adaptation for The National Ballet of Canada expands the role of Marie’s brother, Misha, and casts children as Mice, Unicorns, Chefs, Lambs and more. Over 260 students from Canada’s National Ballet School and Toronto’s public schools participate, with 98 children in each show!

Kids of The Nutcracker

Dazzling Choreography
As important as children are to The Nutcracker, the production is anything but childish. James is a very musical choreographer with a reputation for complex choreography and his version of The Nutcracker is filled with fabulous dancing. In addition to the exquisite variations performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy, he gives us the dramatic Uncle Nikolai, resplendent in a fur-lined hat and coat, a whirling Snow scene with a daring pas de trois by the Snow Queen and her Icicles and a fleet-footed Bee, a role unique to our production.

The Nutcracker Trailer

Enchanting Sets and Costumes
Santo Loquasto’s glorious stage design is inspired by the setting in 19th century Russia. The adventure begins at a festive holiday party at a country estate, where Uncle Nikolai arrives bearing gifts. Among them is the Nutcracker who comes to life at midnight to battle the Mouse Tsar and lead Misha and Marie to the palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy, who emerges from an enormous Faberg√© egg.
Share the Magic
Each season, the National Ballet partners with social service organizations, community agencies and hospitals to welcome 1,600 young people and their families to a free performance of The Nutcracker through our Share the Magic programme. I invite you to watch Deja’s story about her experience with Share the Magic and learn more about how you can help to give the gift of ballet.

Share the Magic

The Nutcracker is onstage December 12, 2019 –  January 4, 2020.


Kids of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker Trailer

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