Nutcracker.

…le sigh

For many people this time of year brings a flurry of holiday parties, cookie swaps and hot-chocolate-christmas-movie-marathons…

For Dancers, December inevitably brings a plethora of ‘Party Scenes’ and perhaps one too many trips to the ‘Land of Sweets’…visions of one too many Sugarplums anybody?

Needless to say, this timeless tradition brings many a magical moment for each passing audience, and on this very day, December 18th, The Nutcracker turns 122 years old. Can you imagine?! In 1892, this seasonal suite made its debut at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg Russia, on a double bill with Tchaikovsky’s opera, Lolanta. It’s been keeping Dancers on their toes each Christmas ever since…and while we may be quick to resent the melodious score that plays ceaselessly in every storefront, Starbucks, and Pandora playlist this time of year, it also presents us with performance after performance to grace the stage, to spread and share the magic of the season.

At Boston Ballet, we will be performing 44 shows of The Nutcracker this year (1/2 way done today!) – It’s a different kind of marathon to say the least…but on our most tired days, when we might want to trade pointe shoes for plaid pajamas, I like to think of the audience – first timer’s and loyal ticket holders alike, and I do it for them.

Below is a glimpse of some original Nutcracker sketches of the 1892 production that I found here

It’s amazing to see and experience the transformation of tradition over the years…

Lydia Rubtsova as Marianna, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara and Vassily Stukolkin as Fritz, in the original production of The Nutcracker (Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, 1892)

Lydia Rubtsova as Marianna, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara and Vassily Stukolkin as Fritz, in the original production of The Nutcracker (Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, 1892)

Konstantin Ivanov's original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker (1892)

Konstantin Ivanov’s original sketch for the set of The Nutcracker (1892)

Ivan Vsevolozhsky's original costume sketch for The Nutcracker (1892)

Ivan Vsevolozhsky’s original costume sketch for The Nutcracker (1892)

Sugar Plum Fairy and Nikolai Legat as Prince Coqueluche in the Grand pas de deux in the original production of The Nutcracker. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, c. 1900

Sugar Plum Fairy and Nikolai Legat as Prince Coqueluche in the Grand pas de deux in the original production of The Nutcracker. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, c. 1900

Ivan Vsevolozhsky's original costume designs for Mother Gigogne and her Polichinelle children, 1892.

Ivan Vsevolozhsky’s original costume designs for Mother Gigogne and her Polichinelle children, 1892.

To dancers far and wide, to the Snowflakes and Flowers, DewDrops and Sugarplums who are in for a busy December, I send you strength! We’ve made it 122 years…let’s continue contributing to this legacy of year-end joy, and look forward to a rewarding New Year ahead!

Melodious Magic ~ p.e.