Thanksgiving is over and you're stuffed to the brim. But all you can think abut is that delicious Christmas dinner waiting to fill you up again in just a few weeks, and probably what you're going to do with all that free time you'll have since vacation time is just around the corner. After you do all your holiday shopping and requisite couch-sitting/reality TV show watching, you might be craving some actual culture, and lucky for you, Dallas is full of performances of the most popular holiday show, The Nutcracker.
It's the quintessential holiday ballet: instantly magical and instantly able to get you into the holiday spirit. The plot revolves around Christmas, sure, but that's not what makes it a holiday classic; it's the fact that we all have our own Nutcracker story. Either you've danced in it every season since you who were six, your parents took you and your brothers to it to show you art in motion, your girlfriend loves the snow ballet, or you've never seen it at all and want to know what the fuss is all about, the tradition of the ballet has continued and evolved into a must-have event on everyone's holiday wish list.
If you ask a majority of people, they will quickly say they love love love The Nutcracker, and what's not to love about it? There's a party with booze flowing, tons of presents to open under the tree, a solider that wants to dance with you and whisk you away on a fairy tale ride through snow and clouds to a land full of sweets, and you, little girl, are a princess. Sounds pretty awesome, right? But then there are those pesky rats that just seem to fall from the sky, some giant lady that births little roly-poly bon-bons, and a very creepy godfather that gives you a nutcracker as a present. Did I mention he was creepy?
There are many reasons to love The Nutcracker, and equally as many reasons to hate the ballet--okay, hate might be too strong of a word, but when you've seen it at least 100 times, and I'm not exaggerating here, you start to dread that "dum dah dum dah dum dah dum, dum dah dum dah dum dah dum, dum dah dum..."--but what I think we can all agree on is that we've all wanted to be Clara at some point in our lives.
Top 5 Reasons We Love The Nutcracker
It's a yardstick for our childhood The ballet has become a way for some many people to mark periods of their lives. Whether it is reliving your first time to see it, or maybe you celebrated a birthday, an engagement, or some other milestone at the performance, the ballet has the ability to help you remember a wonderful night, and to help you remember that innocence can still exist in our world. Historically, the ballet was created in a great time of innocence, when all the world saw was a future of peace and prosperity. The show helps us rediscover that feeling, and that's pretty powerful when you break it down.
That Snow Scene It's just so beautiful: a dreamy scene of pine trees at twilight, a group of lovely snowflakes turning and leaping in perfect precision, and a snowstorm inside. It's like stepping inside of a fairytale, a winter wonderland. It's also the part of the ballet that almost every ballet dancer knows in some form or fashion, so don't be surprised if you turn around and see your neighbor marking the movement in her chair.
The Sugar Plum Fairy The Sugar Plum Fairy: this role is always danced by someone with impossibly long legs and perfectly arched feet, and every little girl--and big girl--just drools in her seat over the beauty that is on stage. Plus, the Sugar Plum Fairy is pretty much the Queen of the Land of Sweets, and who doesn't want to be queen of a place full of cake, candy, and male dancers who can do the splits every which way?
Mama Ginger and the "Dance of the Bonbons" That massive skirt. I had dreams about that skirt...have dreams about that skirt. Then the little baby bon-bons come rolling out doing handstands and cartwheels, and it's just like being a kid again, running around at this holiday party, or that holiday party, stealing cake and cookies before dinner, and drawing on the walls with crayons, but blaming it on the sleeping baby in the next room. It's pure fun. Weird, but fun.
You can take a selfie with a rat Inevitably at any performance of The Nutcracker, the characters will come out after the show in full costume and you can pose with your favorite, à la Disney World style. Kids love it. Hell, you love it. #ratprince
Top 5 Reasons We "Hate" The Nutcracker
It's likely the show could suck. Unless you are seeing a top-notch performance from a well-rated ballet company, the show might not live up to all the hype or your expectations. Also, no one really dances until almost the end of the first act, and by then it may be too late for some of us who need lots of movement and action to keep us awake.
Also, the show is everywhere. Pretty much every weekend in December, you can find a performance of The Nutcracker. Over saturation is not always a good thing. Quality over quantity is a real thing in the dance world.
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The story is pretty basic. Girl gets nutcracker. Girl breaks nutcracker. Girl gets "punished," but whisked away on a magical sleigh ride to a land full of sweets. Her real punishment is being forced to watch variety show act after variety show act when all she really wants do it is eat and sleep and play with her toy solider. It's no Hunger Games, here.
Clara Because, we never got to play her.
The show's main battle scene is with cute little mice played by children, and then killed so that Clara can hang out with a wooden solider. Save the mice, people. Save the mice!
Think you know everything about The Nutcracker? This quiz wants to challenge you.