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GEORGE BALCHINE'S 'THE NUTCRACKER'

It’s likely you already know the fanciful, fantastical Christmas Eve story and Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable melodies—but it’s certain that no NYC holiday season is complete without seeing choreographer George Balanchine’s confection come to life.

The glittering classic, performed annually by the New York City Ballet since 1954, has become one of the City’s signature family-friendly traditions.


During the holiday period, the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands and more than 125 children, in two alternating casts, from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible. Children of all ages from New York City and the nation fill the David H. Koch Theater to be captivated by the lure of Tschaikovsky's music, Balanchine's choreography, Karinska's sumptuous costumes, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian's magical sets. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®, based on the Alexandre Dumas pere version of E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), demands a full-scale production.

The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers' imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 41 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer's head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).

While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine's choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the "Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy" and there is no turning back.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company's active repertory. The popularity of the ballet is immense and it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone's holiday season


Expect to warm your spirits with visions of the Sugarplum Fairy dancing in your head


To book tickets visit: NYC Ballet


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