We love a classic Nutcracker, but appreciate variety in the Christmas standard, too. This season the holiday ballet can be seen in trademarked virtuosic style at Lincoln Center; adapted for family audiences in venues across the city; and with urban dance styles mixed with ballet in the Lower East Side.
The original Nutcracker—Marius Petipa’s ballet based on an E.T.A. Hoffman story with music by Tchaikovsky—first premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 17, 1892. The Sugar Plum Fairy, the dancing rodents led by a mouse soldier, the young heroine Clara (sometimes called Marie) and Tchaikovsky’s score have become a holiday favorite in New York, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the ballet.
From late November through early January, die-hard fans and first-timers can take their pick of Nutcrackers, or choose to chew up all of them. Make a holiday present of tickets to a show: Give the Gift of Culture.